The joint police and game warden patrol prevents and monitors illegal hunting. The patrol focuses specifically on preventing the illegal killing of wolves.
While wolves reproduce effectively, the wolf population is growing slowly. This slow growth cannot be explained by natural mortality, traffic accidents, diseases or exemptions. According to studies, one reason for this slow growth is illegal killing, while suspects are rarely caught.
One suggested reason for the illegal killing of wolves has been a general frustration with the authorities’ ability to deal with wolf-induced conflicts. Other motives include hate, fear, harm caused by wolves (such as losses of dogs) and dissatisfaction with wolf population management.
The goal of the LIFE BOREALWOLF project is to increase people’s trust in the authorities and their ability to handle wolf-induced conflicts. The authorities deal with conflicts in cooperation with the game administration and citizens.
The patrol will interfere especially in illegal hunting
During the project, the joint patrol of the Eastern Finland Police Department and Metsähallitus will monitor compliance with the Hunting Act and Decree and provide assistance in preliminary investigations into illegal hunting.
The joint police and game warden patrol will focus on the illegal killing of wolves but the patrol will interfere in any illegal activities they discover. The work pair will plan actions in situations where wolves pose a threat to people, dogs or domestic animals. Its task is to supervise that the banishment of wolves and any killings subject to an exemption are carried out as planned.
Furthermore, the patrol will maintain public order and security in sparsely populated areas, for example, by keeping an eye on drunken drivers. If necessary, the patrol will carry out police assignments in accordance with the nearest patrol principle.
The joint police and game warden patrol is the first of its kind. Metsähallitus has vast experience in game monitoring and a built-in network for the task. Using police authority, the patrol can access both private and government-owned land. The project will make cooperation between supervisory authorities, such as Metsähallitus, the Finnish Border Guard and the Police of Finland, closer than ever before. This will improve the ability of the authorities to prevent the illegal killing of large carnivores. Good practices and lessons learned will be shared with the authorities at annual training events.
The patrol will be led and monitored similarly to any other operative police unit. Operational results will be recorded every day, and a public annual report on patrol operations will be compiled. The report will, for example, indicate the number of inspections, any illegal activities discovered during operations, as well as training sessions and different events in which the patrol has participated. The report will be published on the project’s website during January or February. If the patrol suspects any criminal activities, such as the illegal killing of wolves, they will be communicated in accordance with the principles of the Criminal Investigation Act.
Cooperation with citizens is the key
The patrol will meet with local people round the year and engage in cooperation at a grassroots level. The joint police and game warden patrol can primarily be seen in the regions of North Karelia and Northern Savonia, but also elsewhere if this is necessary. The patrol will participate in various events and seminars, be visible in local media services and present the results of its work in the LIFE BOREALWOLF project’s social media channels.
If wolves cause concerns, threats or danger, the authorities will need to provide people with information and instructions and take different action to deal with the problem. When meeting regular people, the patrol will provide information and instructions on what to do in different conflicts. The patrol will also work extensively with the game administration and local contact people for large carnivores in terms of monitoring and conflict management.
You can send tips to the patrol
The patrol needs help and assistance from citizens living in Eastern Finland. You can send the patrol text or WhatsApp messages in 050 534 3174. Especially all information on illegalities towards wolves is needed.
Would you like to read more? Click the links below for more interesting information:
Scientific articles on wolf mortality and illegal killings:
Poaching regulates the legally hunted wolf population in Finland (sciencedirect.com)
One way or another: predictors of wolf poaching in a legally harvested wolf population (zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
Poaching-related disappearance rate of wolves in Sweden was positively related to population size and negatively to legal culling (sciencedirect.com)
Cover photo: © Kimmo Örn / LIFE BOREALWOLF