Monday, March 13, 2006

Record number of lynx believed to be in Finland's forests

Record number of lynx believed to be in Finland's forests

Scientists adopt Swedish model: number of individual lynx counted from footprints in snow


This winter there is a record number - between 1,150 to 2,000 - of lynx in the Finnish forests.

      According to the headcount taken in the province of Savo in the east of the country, there are up to twice as many lynx in Finland as had been previously believed.

      The number of lynx inhabiting six game preservation society areas was estimated by using a counting method adopted from Sweden.

      The pilot project was carried out by the Southern and Northern Savo Game Preservation Societies, in cooperation with the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL).

      Savo was chosen for the area’s relatively high lynx population, the densest in the country. A new counting method was experimented with, as - along with the sense that there were a growing number of lynx in the area - the old method has been found to be too inaccurate.


In Sweden, the lynx population sizes have been estimated based on the animals’ footmarks in snow since the late 1990s. With the introduction of the method, the estimations there have become more precise.

      Presently, the size of the Swedish lynx population is estimated at 1,800, instead of 20 to 30 percent less, as was previously thought.

      In Finland the footprint count was carried out for the first time on Saturday. In one day, the headcount of lynx was taken simultaneously in various southern and northern Savo municipalities. Hundreds of hunters from local clubs took part in the effort.

      Attempts were made to eliminate possible overlapping in sightings. In the communities of Juva and Rantasalmi, for one, the headcounts for lynx were estimated at 44 and 30 animals respectively. This is 50 percent more than what has been thought previously.


The final calculation results will be determined after cross-referencing the game preservation societies’ numbers with those by the local contact persons who monitor predators.

      If the method is found to be more accurate than the ones used before, it will be adopted in other parts of the country as well in the coming years.

      “But we still need to introduce other new counting methods as well, such as aerial observation, to further sharpen the number”, researcher Samuli Heikkinen from RKTL points out.

      There are plans to map out the entire lynx and wolf populations of Eastern Finland next winter. The lynx, with its distinctive tufted ears, is the only wild cat indigenous to Finland.



Previously in HS International Edition:

  Helsinki is urban but teeming with wildlife (1.6.2004)



  The lynx in Finland (data from 2001)

  Eurasian Lynx (Lynx Lynx)

For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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