Helsinki (AFP) – Nearly one fifth of Finland’s endangered wolf population was killed in a controversial month-long cull which ended at the weekend, authorities said on Monday.

Authorities gave permits to licensed hunters to kill 46 of Finland’s estimated 250 grey wolves in a cull intended to curb illegal poaching….

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The Grey Wolf population in Finland is part of a larger Russian wolf population estimated to be around 30,000. The current population of wolves in Finland is an estimated 200; with the majority of original wolf population decimated by the 1920’s. Finland is one of the largest countries in Europe, about 130,596 sq miles with three quarters taken up by forest in which predatory animals such as bear, wolverine, lynx and wolf still exist.

The grey wolf is listed as Endangered in Finland, and the Finnish government has a wolf management plan to increase the population although met with great resistance and debate in the public and media. Reindeer husbandry and livestock farming cover a third of Finland including traditional wolf habitat. Reindeer herders and Elk hunters alike fear depredation on their livelihoods and take. In addition, much of the Finnish public still believe the wolf to be a threat to human and more specifically child safety.