SPACE USE AND HABITAT SELECTION OF THE WOLF(CANIS LUPUS) IN HUMAN-ALTERED ENVIRONMENT IN FINLAND, ACTA UNIVERSITATIS OULUENSIS A Scientiae Rerum Naturalium 570

The grey wolf is the most widely distributed of all land mammals and is a habitat generalist thatinhabits all the vegetation types of the Northern Hemisphere. Wolves also breed well and have thepotential to rapidly expand to new areas.\nIn Finland, the wolf is a game species, and as a result of Finland’s membership of the EuropeanUnion, the wolf population is subject to very limited hunting due to the obligation to protect thespecies. Mainly for this reason, the wolf population in Finland has increased significantly in recentyears. In particular, the birth rate has developed favourably and the number of litters increasedfrom just four in 1996 to 20 in 2005. It also seems at present that the wolf population in Finland isno longer following the fluctuations in wolf numbers in Russian Karelia.\nThe general aim of this dissertation is to provide applicable knowledge for wolf managementand conservation purposes, and especially to examine the effects of human-modified landscapeson wolf population expansion in Finland. Various aspects of habitat selection were investigated infour sub-studies to gain a thorough insight into the space use and habitat needs of wolves. Speciesdata came from a long-term wolf population study that included location information from 85radio- and GPS-GSM-collared wolves from 1998 onwards, as well as track location data based onabout 30 000 annual observations recorded with geographical coordinates by a local network ofexperts on large carnivores.\nI found that adaptability makes it possible for the wolf to live in the multiple-use, semi-wildforests of Finland and that no restrictions are imposed by the landscape on wolf population growthand expansion. In general, the results of my dissertation provide evidence that wolves tend toavoid the presence of human influence when establishing a territory and also when selecting theirden site. However, as wolf numbers increase, conflict situations will more frequently occurbetween wolves and humans, although the risk of depredation events, for example among sheepfarms, varies between farms in Finland. That is, there are some environmental and farm levelfactors that are associated with wolf depredation.\nThe breeding wolf population in Finland has gradually expanded and the first litters haverecently been born in western Finland after an absence of more than 100 years. The geographicaldistance to the Scandinavian population is shorter from these new western territories than from thepopulation’s core area in eastern Finland. This could potentially increase the likelihood ofdispersal from Finland to Scandinavia.

ISBN-10:
978-951-42-9381-8
Kieli:
eng.
Sivumäärä:
100 s.
Tekijät:
KAARTINEN SALLA
Tuotekoodi 014064
20,00 €