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‘Let the wolf live. Stop the killing,’ the upper case letters of the banner scream, while demonstrators against the thinning of the endangered wolf population march in Helsinki in front of the Government Palace on Wednesday, January 28. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

Auuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

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 centre on Wednesday afternoon after 14:00.  The protest was organised 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 licence!”

The shooting licence 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 studies and then there are other studies, which are considered more accurate.

The studies on the amount of wolves by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute FGFRI are considered as the most accurate among zoologists.

“A significant one, even a multiple overestimation of wolf population is common,” a bulletin of FGFRI says.

It’s a common misunderstanding that the wolf pack is hunting together all the time.

“When there is a sighting of for example six wolves in one territory and after a few days a second sighting of four wolves is made 30 kilometres from the first sighting, one pack is considered as two separate packs.”

According to FGFRI, this is known to result in two- or even threefold overestimations.

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.”

 

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‘Stop killing the wolves,’ the small banner in the front says. In the back, a banner is calling the hunters as the terrorists of the forest. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

 

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Nina Harju is holding a sign that says ‘An orphan devil in his work of wolf treatment’. The word ‘orphan’ refers to the Finnish last name of the minister of agriculture and forestry, Petteri Orpo. Orpo is orphan in Finnish. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

 

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Marjatta Laiho’s board says: ‘Wolf – my sister, we both need a home and a living space common to our species.’

 

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