Finnish wolf conservationists are outraged by last Friday's statement of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation's (Suomen Luonnonsuojeluliitto, SLL) president Risto Sulkava, apparently advocating wolf hunting.
Mr. Sulkava is quoted in what appears to be a joint statement of the Finnish Hunter's Association (Metsästäjäliitto) and SLL, saying among other things that he "hopes that there will be no complaints against the population management hunting licenses" and that "hunting wolves belongs to the management of the population".
After several major news outlets echoed the statement, SLL's members and other conservationists expressed their outrage about this statement in social media. Some members announced their leaving the association and recommended other to do so as well.
The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation is Finland's largest nature conservation association with over 30000 members is over 180 local associations. The association has recently been criticized for their lack of activity in the Finnish wolf issue. SLL was the only national conservation association not to take part in the rallies against the wolf management plan in late January and critics accuse the association of having actively supported the wolf management plan which - so the critics - could not have passed against SLL's resistance.
According to it's public information, SLL receives 400t€ (17,2% of their budget in 2011) in general support from the government. In addition, the organization receives between 100t and 300t€ per year from the Ministry of the Environment and the State Department as support for specific projects.
After an all-time low of 120-135 individuals in 2013, the Finnish wolf population has increased to 220-245 individuals in 2015. The current wolf-management plan allows the hunting of up to 29 individuals per year for "population management". Experts say, these hunting licenses for population management are based on false premises and in direct violation of EU law.
SLL later on Friday issued a statement, saying that Mr. Sulkava spoke of his own personal opinion and the official line of the organization remains that the current wolf population in Finland cannot tolerate any hunting.
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