Europes wolf population is on the rise and in Finland, their own future hangs in the balance. Are they a danger to humans, or should they be protected?
The story of a kill is recount in the snowfall. On the Finnish island of Porosaari, we find the first paw publish. Thats a male, remarks Asko Kettunen, retired border sentry, hunter and tracker. How can he be sure? Its big.
Five ravens rise from dark yearns, croaking in the icy silence; they will scavenge anything caught by the wolves. We wade through knee-deep snowfall. Theres a smudge of colors blood and a clump of moose “hairs-breadth”, flawlessly slouse, which Kettunen deduces has been rent from a living animal. This, he remarks, is the moment the wolves stirred contact. First they try to puncture the intestines; if they supersede, the moose may run on, but the damage is done.
We find moose ways, each hoof publish far apart: the animal was passing. Kettunen drawn attention to wolf prints on either side, to where a second and third wolf connected the chase. There are blood places and more “hairs-breadth” and a yearn sapling snapped in two. The moose crashed with a tree, so it was not that well, Kettunen remarks, with Finnish understatement.
There are places of blood by every moose publish now. Ultimately, up the hill, is the kill zone. A young moose has been reduced to two front legs and a surface detached precisely from their own bodies, intestines that shed like butchers sausages and a mound of freshly munched grass where its stomach formerly was. Kettunen thinks that five wolves feasted here the previous darknes. We find faeces and a curved berth of snow where a contented wolf took a postprandial doze.
Finland has a wolf problem. Five and a half million humans share the country with an estimated 235 wolves, and thats too many, say rural Finns, whose cattle and hunting dogs are being killed. Some mothers are intimidated that wolves will attack their children. Before, wolves were afraid of beings, Kettunen tells me. Now beings are afraid of wolves. For the past three years, the government has assuaged these panics with a wolf glean. Last-place wintertime, 43 wolves were killed in a management hunting, while total fatalities numbered 78, including difficulty wolves shot by police and road casualties.
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