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By Yle Uutiset
Finland’s wolf population is currently estimated to be between 185 and 205 specimens, according to a report complied by Luke, the National Resources Institute Finland. In March of last year, the institute estimated the total number of wolves in Finland to be at 165-190 and around 150-180 wolves in 2017.
Numbers increase in the east
The report said that the number of packs has fallen in the west of Finland; down to 13 from last year’s 16. There were significantly less wolves found in the areas of North Satakunta and South Ostrobothnia, around the city of Seinäjoki, in south-western Finland.
Wolf population estimates in Finland for 2019, courtesy of Luke.
Location of packs of two or 2/3 wolves in Finland, March 2019 Picture: Mikko Airikka / Yle
However, this decline was counter-balanced by a rise in the number of packs in the east, from eight to eleven. The presence of wolves in eastern regions was concentrated around the areas of Kainuu, North Karelia and northern Savo.
In the reindeer-herding areas of northern Finland, there were only two reported sightings of wolves during that 12 month period.
Population in flux
Luke’s report also detailed how the number of wolves fluctuated significantly over the course of a year.
Wolf populations usually peak during April and May, following the birth of many wolf pups. By the end of May, the wolf population is usually at its maximum, but then starts to quickly decrease due to the high mortality rate of the pups.
In Finland, young wolves usually leave their native pack in the spring, when they are about one year old, and may walk up to a thousand kilometers from their birthplace in search of a mating partner and breeding area.