Den finske Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Jari Leppä har besluttet at skyde 20 ulve i det sydlige Finland. En beslutning der er i strid med Habitatdirektivet og dommen mod Finland C674/17 (Tapioladommen)
Ulvetid har derfor sendt en klage til ministeren Jari Leppä. Klagen er sendt som et led i vores samarbejde på Europæisk plan via European Association for Wolf Conservation (EAWC) efter anmodning fra vores finske venner fra Luonto-Liiton susiryhmä – The Wolf Action Group.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland
Culling of 20 wolves
Referring to the decision of permitting the culling of 20 wolves in Southern Finland the association “Ulvetid” (Foreningen ”Ulvetid”) strongly disagrees with the killing of an endangered species.
As a Danish association aiming to preserve and protect the wolf in the EU and in Norway, we consider it extremely problematic that the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland has decided for the culling of 20 wolves in the Southern regions of Finland.
In accordance with the EU Habitats Directive, wolves are covered by the annex IV providing them with the strongest protection possible. Consequently, it is strictly prohibited to deliberately kill, catch or even disturb wolves in their natural habitat.
The decision of permitting a cull of 20 wolves is obviously in conflict with this agreement, and it will undoubtedly affect the safety of wolves in other EU countries that the Finnish government deviates from the provisions of the EU Habitats Directive.
The aim with the culling is said to be to reduce social conflicts associated with the wolf population and to promote the acceptance of the wolf to ensure a favorable conservation status for the wolf.
According to the EU Habitats Directive, the wolf is a strictly protected species in the southern part of Finland. However, protection may be waived if a clear target has been set for the hunt and it is demonstrated that there is no other satisfactory solution. In addition, it must be ensured that the hunt does not endanger the achievement of a favorable conservation status for the wolf. Neither of these conditions have been met before the decision was made to kill the 20 wolves.
Social conflicts must be met by social means, i.e. by educating the population, by information campaigns, by meeting people locally in areas where the wolves are and answer their worries and questions. Addressing such situations are done by giving the population real information of the nature of wolves, and what can be done to protect sheep and cattle as wolf protecting fences, guard dogs etc.
Where is the evidence that killing 4 randomly selected wolf families should have any positive effect as regards reducing potential social conflicts or protecting remaining wolf families?
Article 16 of the Habitats Directive is very clear; a protected species like the wolf may not be killed unless proven no other satisfactory solution will be possible AND that every other mean has been tried without a satisfactory result. In addition, it must be ensured that the hunt does not endanger the achievement of a favorable conservation status for the wolf. None of these conditions have been met in the present case.
The European Court of Justice ruled in Case C-674/17 premise 41 (the Tapiola judgment) “Therefore, it must be noted that a derogation decision must define the objectives relied upon in support of a derogation in a clear and precise manner and with supporting evidence. A derogation based on Article 16(1) of the Habitats Directive must be applied appropriately in order to deal with precise requirements and specific situations”
The decision to cull 20 wolves to “reduce social conflicts” does not fulfill the requirements in premise 41. To do so, “a derogation decision must define the objectives relied upon in support of a derogation in a clear and precise manner and with supporting evidence“. No such evidence has been presented in advance of the permission to kill these 20 wolves.
C-674/17, Premise 45 “In such a situation, as the Advocate General observed in point 62 of his Opinion, it is for the national authority to support, on the basis of rigorous scientific data, including comparative data on the effects of hunting for population management purposes on the conservation status of wolves, the proposition that hunting for population management purposes is actually capable of reducing illegal hunting to such an extent that it would have a net positive effect on the conservation status of the wolf population, whilst taking account of the number of derogation permits envisaged and the most recent estimates of the number of wolves taken illegally“.
Premise 45 thus clearly state that in order to release permission to kill wolves for the sake of reducing illegal hunting, you are obliged to bring forward scientific evidence that the culling would result in a positive effect on the conservation status for the wolf.
In the present case, the hunting will show a negative effect on the conservation status for the wolf. Thus, the permit for hunting wolves contradicts C674/17 premise 45.
In case C 342/05 premise 47 (the EU Commission versus Finland): “Accordingly, by authorising wolf hunting on a preventive basis, without it being established that the hunting is such as to prevent serious damage within the meaning of Article 16(1)(b) of the Habitats Directive, the Republic of Finland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 12(1) and 16(1)(b) of that directive; the remainder of the Commissions application must be dismissed.”
This premise clearly shows that Finland’s planned wolf hunt is in conflict with the Habitats Directive
“The quota does not apply to wolves killed by police order or to damage and security exemptions granted by the Wildlife Center” The fact that the quota does not apply to wolves killed by police order or to damage and security exemptions, entails a risk that the total harvest of wolves exceeds 20 wolves.
“On September 2, 2021, LUKE published a preliminary report, which was used by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to prepare the executive order”. The fact that the number of wolves that can be regulated is based on temporary calculation instead of a scientifically based calculation and that LUKE has announced that the program used for the calculations was flawed, means that the approval of culling 20 wolves is definitely not compatible with the requirements of the Habitats Directive, which requires scientific documentation.
The sentence: “does not take into account genetic variation in the wolf population. Although the genetic diversity of the Finnish wolf population is currently at a good level, the declining trend in diversity is worrying.” As it is clearly stated that the precautionary principle must be used when calculating the maximum culling, in conjunction with the regulation of an Annex 4 s species. This is another violation of the Habitats Directive.
Finally, please note paragraph 78 of Case C-473/19 “[…] the protection afforded by that provision does not cease to apply to species which have attained a favorable conservation status.”
Considering the fact that Finland on the above mentioned previous occasions – of which one has occurred only very recently – has been found guilty of violating the EU Habitats Directive by killing wolves without significant reason, it is completely unacceptable that Finland yet again attempts to commit the same violation.
The “Ulvetid” association therefore insists on the permit for the hunt for 20 wolves to be withdrawn, since the hunting is not compatible with the protection required by the wolf under the EU Habitats Directive, Annex IV.
Helle Netterstrøm Juntermanns
Member of the board, and
Maglemosen 1 – 4070 Kr. Hyllinge – Danmark
Phone: + 45 60613739
Ulv i Danmark – Naturligvis