The howling of a few hundred demonstrators against the killing of the endangered wolf population of Finland echoed across the streets of Helsinki, as the demonstration advanced from the museum of contemporary art Kiasma to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Kruununhaka and back to the center on Wednesday afternoon after 14:00. The protest was organized by the environmental and animal activists and similar protests were arranged also in Joensuu and Tampere.
While at the ministry, the howling continued and the protesters chanted:
“Justice for the wolves. No to the shooting license!”
The shooting license considers allowing 29 wolves to be killed this year. The same amount is suggested for the following year also.
The numbers are based on the treatment plan of Petteri Orpo, the minister of agriculture and forestry, who believes there are 220-245 wolves in the country and according to Orpo: less is better for the safety of humans.
The treatment plan is under the consideration of the cabinet.
The amount of wolves is based on the calculations by the local hunters’ associations.
But there is a problem with these numbers.
And the demonstrators were aware of it.
“The wolves are in a bad state. There are somewhat 150 wolves in the country which is extremely little in comparison with the international population,” said Nina Harju, 50, one of the demonstrators from western Finland.
As we know, there are some studies and then there are other studies, which are considered more accurate.
The studies on the number of wolves by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute FGFRI are considered as the most accurate among zoologists.
It’s a common misunderstanding that the wolf pack is hunting together all the time.
“When in one territory there is a sighting of, for example, six wolves and after a few days they make a second sighting of four wolves 30 kilometers from the first one, they consider one pack as two separate packs,” FGFRI said in a bulletin.
According to FGFRI, this is known to result in two- or even threefold overestimations in the number of wolf packs.
But is the wolf dangerous to humans?
“There is not a single reported killing of a wolf in Europe in the past two decades,” said Nina Harju. “There are recent studies about it.”
Harju thinks that the whole idea of thinning the wolf population originates from the lobbers, the hunters, who – hence the name – like to hunt animals with their hunting dogs.
“It’s a political game when the killing of the wolves is justified by them being dangerous to humans. The wolf is a political animal.”
Marjatta Laiho, 60, a resident from eastern Helsinki, who was pushing a scooter, said she believes the wolf could be dangerous if a person walks into their territory.
“But a human can arrange one’s life in a way that the wolves can live in peace.”
“All it takes is to sing ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf’ while walking in the forest.”