The good bad wolfwolf evaluation reveals the roots of the Finnish wolf conflict

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  • ORIGINAL PAPER

    The good bad wolfwolf evaluation reveals the rootsof the Finnish wolf conflict

    Jukka Bisi & Tuija Liukkonen & Sakari Mykr &Mari Pohja-Mykr & Sami Kurki

    Received: 6 April 2009 /Revised: 22 January 2010 /Accepted: 1 March 2010 /Published online: 25 March 2010# Springer-Verlag 2010

    Abstract This article focuses on the roots of the Finnishwolf conflict by using stakeholder evaluations of the wolfas a tool. The recent growth of the wolf population hashighlighted stakeholders_ contradictory objectives andrevealed a conflict between the two main stakeholders,conservationists and hunters, in wolf management. Thequestion of hunting emerges as the core of the conflict. Thenegative evaluation of the wolf by hunters reflects acompetitive situation, which is typical of the historicaldevelopment of wolf management in Finland. In areas withthe most abundant wolf populations, hunters view the wolfmost negatively. This study clearly demonstrates that theFinnish wolf conflict is rooted in the values of modernsociety and carries a long historical, practical and ecolog-ical background in which humans and wolves compete overresources, mainly the moose. The conflict between huntersand conservationists in wolf management is connected to

    the appreciation of moose as game and stems fromcompetition between humans and wolves over their preyand the historical presence or absence of the wolf.

    Keywords Conflict . Competition . Conservationists .

    Evaluation . Hunters .Wolf management history

    Introduction

    Since 1990, the wolf population in Finland has recoveredsignificantly (Kojola et al. 2004a, 2006a, b), increasingfrom four family packs in 1996 to 25 packs in 2007 (Kojola2007). Consequently, the expansion and the growth of thepopulation have raised new challenges to wolf managementobjectives (Bisi et al. 2007; Bisi and Kurki 2008). The wolfpopulation has grown the most in the eastern regions ofFinland. Simultaneously, some areas have no or relativelyfew wolves. This situation has placed people and theirenvironments into unequal relationships vis--vis the wolf.In some areas, the wolf is a part of everyday life, whereas inother areas, it exists only in discussions. The return of thewolf has resulted in a complex multilevel managementconflict, extending ultimately to a conflict between Finlandand the European Union (EU; Bisi et al. 2007).

    The painful interaction between people and wolves is notonly a Finnish phenomenon. Similar situations can befound elsewhere in Scandinavia as well as in several othercountries and cultures around the world. The background ofthese conflicts is often the return of the wolf to areas whereit has been absent for years, decades or even longer. Theseconflicts share certain characteristics, usually with thereturn and growth of the wolf population eliciting demandsto reduce the population and its growth. Such a discussionhas been common in Finland and Scandinavia, the United

    Communicated by H. Kierdorf

    J. Bisi (*)Metsahallitus, Natural Heritage Services,c/o Yrttikiventie 18,Tuomikyla 60720, Finlande-mail: jukka.bisi@metsa.fi

    T. LiukkonenDepartment of Biology, University of Oulu,PO Box 3000, Oulu 90540, Finland

    S. Mykr :M. Pohja-MykrSection of Biodiversity and Environmental Research,Department of Biology, University of Turku,20014 Turku, Finland

    S. KurkiRuralia Institute, University of Helsinki,Kampusranta 9C,60320 Seinjoki, Finland

    Eur J Wildl Res (2010) 56:771779DOI 10.1007/s10344-010-0374-0

  • States and several European countries (Fritts et al. 2003;Skogen and Krange 2003; Skogen et al. 2008; Ericsson etal. 2004; Bisi et al. 2007). Demands to slow the growth ofthe wolf population have led to a discussion overacceptable methods to achieve this purpose. For instance,in addition to hunting, both translocation and sterilisationhave been used (Ericsson et al. 2004). In general, at thecore of the discussion lies the traditional way to delimit thepopulation (i.e., hunting). In Finland, it is mainly huntersand local people who demand wolf hunting. At the sametime, conservationists accept only the elimination ofdamage-causing individuals and only by authorities (Bisiand Kurki 2008). In Finland, the wolf has been protectedsince the mid-1990s, and only in the reindeer herding areasin northern Finland has wolf hunting with hunting licencesbeen permitted (Bisi et al. 2007). Outside the reindeerherding areas, a limited number of damage-causing animalshave been culled. Such cullings are strictly regulated bylegislation (MAF 2005; Bisi et al. 2007).

    Demands to permit wolf hunting are also commonoutside of Finland. In Scandinavia, in both Norway andSweden, where wolves have returned concomitantly toFinland, hunters have been willing to engage in wolfhunting (Skogen and Krange 2003; Ericsson et al. 2004).This demand is connected to problems associated withhunting with dogs in wolf-occupied areas. Wolves havekilled hunting dogs both in Finland and elsewhere inScandinavia (Ericsson and Heberlein 2003; Kojola et al.2004b). The number of dogs killed in Finland varied from20 to 31 during 20002003 (MAF 2005). However, wolfhunting to protect hunting dogs has been seen somewhatambiguously supported in wolf areas in, for instance,Sweden (Ericsson et al. 2004).

    Several factors may explain the background of demandsconnected to the reintroduction of wolf hunting, of whichthe most important are the strong interests of the hunters.However, this entirety includes viewpoints that have notbeen thoroughly examined and discussed. Some historicalevents or facts in the management of the Finnish wolfpopulation still affect the present situation. According to thestatistical yearbook, 5,598 wolves were killed between1866 and 1890, whereas only 105 were killed between1881 and 1898 (Mykr and Pohja-Mykr 2005). Since then,the wolf population has recovered significantly, even intothe 1990s. We may rightly assume that an ecologicallycompetitive situation has existed between humans andwolves in the past and that the reactions of present-dayhunters have raised an analogous scenario. In areas towhich the wolf has returned, discussion has even includedsuch concepts as the quality of life (Bisi and Kurki 2008;Skogen et al. 2008). This point of view is connected to bothlocally developed and tradition-experienced ways of usingnature, and the wolf is considered a threat to them.

    This article aims to deepen our knowledge of the Finnishconflict in wolf management. This conflict has beendiscussed earlier from the point of view of its presentsituation and the possibilities to manage it (Bisi et al. 2007).Only fear for the wolf has been discussed from a historicalviewpoint. In a previous study, we showed that Finnishconservationists and hunters were especially active partic-ipants in the societal debate and that hunting was a centralfactor in that conflict. This article focuses on hunting andon the role of hunters as participants in the wolf conflict.Why is the wolf such a difficult issue in hunting and forhunters? For this discussion, we searched for details inthose positive and negative characteristics attributed to thewolf and discuss these results in a historical context. Weargue that the history of the interaction between man andwolf also explains features of the present wolf conflict.

    Material and methods

    The data of this study were collected during the preparation ofthe Finnish wolf management plan in 2004 (MAF 2005). Asemi-structured questionnaire was addressed to regionalorganisations that were recognised as representing importantstakeholders in wolf management policy. The composition ofstakeholders varied to some extent between game manage-ment districts (e.g., reindeer herders exist only in reindeerherding areas; Fig. 1). Involved stakeholders representedhunting and kennel associations, legal hunting organisations,conservationists, environmental authorities, and nongovern-mental organisations, top organisations for primary producers,law enforcement agencies (police and border guards),municipalities and their federations and other regionalstakeholders such as Metshallitus (the administrator ofstate-owned forests). Altogether, 211 regional organisationsresponded to the questionnaires. Most of the questionnaires(60%) were completed as teamwork (210 individuals), andaltogether, about 1,000 people were involved.

    For this study, respondents were divided into four maincategories: hunters, conservationists, primary producers andothers. The hunters group included game managementdistricts and associations and voluntary hunting and kennelassociations. The conservationists group included Districtsof the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, naturetourism business and environmental authorities. The groupof primary producers included regional actors of the CentralUnion of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners,reindeer herders and others, and lastly, the others groupincluded law enforcement agencies (police and borderguards) and municipalities and their federations.

    The data were divided into three main regions accordingto wolf population density (Kojola et al. 2006b, Fig. 1):regions of stable wolf population, regions of growing wolf

    772 Eur J Wildl Res (2010) 56:771779

  • population and regions of dispersing wolves. Regions ofstable population in eastern Finland harbour most of theFinnish wolf population. In regions of growing populationin central and western Finland, some family packs havebeen sighted, and the population is growing. In areas ofdispersing wolves, some single-wandering individuals areoccasionally sighted. The sparsely inhabited reindeerherding areas in northern Finland and the densely inhabitedsouthern Finland are included in the same category,although the legislative status of the wolf and the structureof human activities in these areas differ significantly. In thereindeer herding areas, the sparse population of wolves isattributed to the protection of reindeer husbandry, whereasin southern Finland, the population has been unable toexpand, and dense human settlement may hinder theexpansion of the species into this area.

    Statistical analysis

    In the questionnaire, the respondents were asked to definethe three most important positive and negative characteristics

    of the wolf (with no alternatives provided) and to evaluate theimportance of each characteristic: (1) almost insignificant, (2)slightly significant, (3) fairly significant, (4) significant and(5) very significant. Thus, for each respondent, the overallimportance of both positive (Importance +) and negative(Importance) characteristics could vary between 1 (1 + 0 + 0)and 15 (5 + 5 + 5), respectively.

    Furthermore, by using the evaluations of importance, wewere able to calculate the relative importance of eachpositive and negative characteristic (sum of Importance ofone characteristic/sum of Importance of all characteristics)for each stakeholder group (Tables 1 and 2). Thus, thepercentage values show the relative importance of eachpositive and negative characteristics found within stake-holder groups.

    The mean importance of positive and negative charac-teristics in the eyes of different stakeholder groups andregions appear in Table 3. Comparisons of the sums ofimportance of positive and negative characteristics wereconducted using the multivariate analysis of variance andpost hoc pairwise comparisons between stakeholders,regions and both stakeholders and regions with Fisher_sLSD test (Table 4).

    Results

    Positive evaluations and their weight values

    In the questionnaire, stakeholders were asked to identifythree positive characteristics, but in many cases, theyprovided only one or two. Positive characteristics werereclassified into six main categories according to theircontent. Two positive characteristics dominated among allstakeholders (Table 1). The wolf is an essential componentof biodiversity was defined by terms such as it has anabsolute value, it belongs to Finnish nature and it ispart of Finnish fauna. In addition, the wolf is part of theecological whole was defined by it is a part of the foodweb, it is a top predator and it controls ungulatepopulations.

    Some interesting differences between stakeholders alsoemerged. The positive characteristics defined by huntersand representatives of primary production showed lessdiversity than did those defined by conservationists.Positive characteristicsother than the two most importantoneswere clearly less important among hunters andprimary producers. Their definitions, categorised as Otherarguments, were not actually positive but contained manyironic comments, such as wolves make life exciting,they call for greater hunting skills, they offer morehunting opportunities and they compel authorities to act,among others.

    Fig. 1 Wolf (Canis lupus) abundance regions in Finland

    Eur J Wildl Res (2010) 56:771779 773

  • Stakeholders representing hunting and primary producersoffered positive arguments less often than did conservationistsor others. Conservationists, on the other hand, defined thewolf more positively than did all the other respondents.Conservationists saw the wolf as a potential objective fornature tourism and wildlife photography. They, together withother respondents, also defined wolf as an importantcomponent of regional image. Such arguments were very rareamong hunters or primary producers.

    Negative evaluations and the weight values

    Stakeholders offered more negative than positive character-istics of the wolf. We reclassified the negative evaluationsinto nine different categories. Two negative evaluationspredominated: Wolves cause damage to human livelihoods(by killing cattle, reindeer, etc.), and wolves instil fearand pose a threat to safety. Damage to human live-lihoods was brought up mostly by primary producers(45.9%). Another important negative evaluation, wolvesrestrict hunting with dogs, was common among huntersand rare among conservationists. Hunters considered iteven more important (26.4%) than fear (22.9%). Thisnegative evaluation was also interesting in that amongconservationists, the category of other negative aspectsincluded tens of aspects that concerned not the wolf itself,

    but the present wolf situation, attitudes towards the speciesor the inadequate legislative situation (Table 2).

    The sum of positive and negative weight values

    Examination of the percentages in Tables 1 and 2, whichindicate the importance of different characteristics, maycreate the illusion that there were no significant differencesbetween stakeholders. Percentage values show the generalimportance of these positive and negative definitionsamong respondents but failed to identify how stakeholdersdiffer in their use of weight values 15. To clarify thesedifferences, we summarised all the positive and negativeweight values of all characteristics and compared them tothe distributions of different respondents in different wolfregions.

    When we compared the sum of negative and positiveweight values, we discovered that respondents generallydefined the wolf more negatively than positively (positivetotal sum, 5.0; negative total sum, 9.3). The respondentcategories differed significantly from each other in thepositive (df=3, F=17.1, p

  • conservationists, the sum of the total positive weight valueswas clearly higher (9.6) than the sum for negative values (6.6).

    Comparison of the differences between stakeholders(Table 4) showed that for positive characteristics, theconservationists differ significantly from all other respond-ents (P

  • were the highest in the regions in eastern Finland withestablished wolf populations, and the sums decreased withthe population of wolves (sum for established populations,10.2; for growing populations, 9.2; for dispersing wolves,8.0). The tests of between-subject effect showed (Table 4)that stakeholders from various regions reacted differently,especially with regard to positive definitions (df=6, F=2.988, p=0.008). Where the wolf population is densest,conservationists define the wolf clearly more positively thanin other regions. For all other groups of stakeholders, wolfabundance did not affect the values of positive definitions, ornegative values became more important.

    Discussion

    This study shows that historically, the competitive interactionbetween humans and wolves in Finland is reflected instakeholder evaluations even today. In agreement with Bisiet al. (2007), the data in our study indicate that attitudestowards wolves are generally negative and problem based.Negative definitions clearly dominated over positive defi-nitions, with the addition of strong importance value.Differences, especially between hunters and conservationists,were significant. Although hunters recognised the absolutevalue of the wolf and its ecological role on the whole, theydiffered from other stakeholders in two important ways.Hunters strongly expressed the wolf_s role as a severe threatto hunting and hunting dogs, whereas other stakeholdersconsidered this threat marginal. Hunters assigned higherimportance values to negative characteristics of the wolf.This clearly revealed the negativity with which they view the

    species. Particularly in eastern Finland, in regions with stablewolf populations and where interactions between people andwolves are a part of everyday life, the expression of thesenegative characteristics was most common.

    To better understand the complex relationship andconflict between humans and wolves and, in this case, theconflict between hunters and wolves, a historical perspec-tive is needed. As in North America (Emel 1998) and otherWestern countries (Fritts et al. 2003), in the past, Finnishdecision makers encouraged people to exterminate thewhole wolf population. Management of the wolf popula-tion, according to historical documents and past writtenlegislation, can be divided into three main eras. The first ofthese eras lasted from the 1300s to the early 1900s, whenwolf killing and hunting was completely unregulated(Pohja-Mykr et al. 2005; Mykr et al. 2005). During thisperiod, the legislation underwent several adjustments inorder to intensify wolf killing. Under Swedish rule (whichlasted until 1809), the Hunting Law of 1347 listed the wolfas harmful, and 1,647 hunting bounties were offered toeradicate wolves (Pohja-Mykr et al. 2005). At the sametime, the moose (Alces alces) was considered a beneficial(edible) species. The goal was to increase the moose bagand to reduce the number of wolves. Under Russian rule(18091917), the elimination of wolves achieved contin-uous support through the issuance of hunting bounties(Pohja-Mykr et al. 2005). In the last decades of the1800s, wolves were heavily hunted as a result of severalchild-killing events (Teperi 1977). The wolf was consid-ered a major pest and threat to people and livestock.During this period, the killing of wolves achieved its mostextreme rate (Pulliainen 1974). Wolves were fiercely

    Table 4 Multiple comparisons of mean differences SE of sums of positive and negative evaluations between stakeholders

    Dependent variable Stakeholder (i) Stakeholder (j) Mean difference (i j) SE Significance

    Sum of positive evaluations Hunters Conservationists 5.90.8 0.000***Primary producers 0.20.7 0.827 NS

    Others 1.60.6 0.006***Primary producers Conservationists 6.10.9 0.000***

    Others 1.70.7 0.014**Conservationists Others 4.40.7 0.000***

    Sum of negative evaluations Hunters Conservationists 4.71.0 0.000***

    Primary producers 2.60.9 0.007***

    Others 2.30.7 0.002***

    Primary producers Conservationist 2.11.1 0.063 NS

    Others 0.30.9 0.767 NSConservationists Others 2.41.0 0.015**

    * P

  • hunted to the brink of extinction. From the end of 1800s tothe 1990s, the Finnish wolf population survived due solelyto the dispersion of wolves from Russia (Pulliainen 1965;Kojola et al. 2006a).

    The legislative status of the wolf as an ultimate outlawcontinued until the 1970s. Until then, the wolf had alwaysbeen categorised as harmful, and the killing of wolves waspermitted for anyone, anywhere and anytime. In the late1960s, conservationists as well as some decision makersgrew concerned about the fate of the species. In 1969, forexample, the wolf population dropped to only ten individ-uals; as a result, 14 members of the Finnish parliamentproposed total protection for the wolf (Nienstedt 1997).This period may be defined not only as a period ofsystematic wolf killing but also as a period of societalpro-wolf discussion. In 1973, the wolf received fullprotection outside the reindeer herding area. In thefollowing decades, several specific regulations governingwolf hunting were established, and the situation slowlybegan to change. Even though wolf bounties were stillallowed by law since 1976, the state in practise stoppedpaying wolf bounties because no funds were earmarked forthat purpose in the fiscal budget in the forthcoming years(Pohja-Mykr et al. 2005). A significant change in themanagement of the wolf population occurred in the 1990s,when the species became protected under the Hunting Lawof 1993. The reform of hunting legislation in 1993reflected Finland_s forthcoming membership in the EUand its efforts to harmonise Finnish legislation with that ofthe EU. Finland became a member of the EU in 1995. Thecontent of Article 16 in the Habitats Directive elicitedamendments and totally changed the wolf_s legislativestatus in Finland (Bisi et al. 2007). At present, the wolf isa protected game species (Hunting Law of 1993), a statusthat can be considered the culmination point in Finnishwolf management. During this past decade and as a result ofnew legislation, the wolf population in Finland has begun torecover. This period has lasted for about 14 years, whereas theperiod of uncontrolled killing lasted for nearly 600 years. Theperiod of low population, when the readiness for wolfprotection emerged, lasted for about 100 years.

    The previous historical context has shown that the roleof competition between wolves and humans has been amajor driving force in the struggle against the wolf. Thewolf has threatened human livelihoods by killing beneficialgame species, domestic animals, and even humansthevery same negative characteristics of the wolf that emergedin these data. The species that was nearly eliminatedthrough hunting has become strictly protected by law. Thequestion of hunting remains at the core of the modern wolfconflict not only in Finland but also in Scandinavia (Bisi etal. 2007; Skogen et al. 2008). In modern Finnish huntingculture, the use of dogs is an essential component, and the

    presence of wolves either threatens or prevents the use ofdogs. Conservationists, however, considered this aspectunimportant. Interestingly, hunters consider the wolf a seriousthreat, although reported and statistically compiled dogkillings amount only to some tens annually (MAF 2005).These events are significantly visible in media, however,which to a great extent, explains hunters' attitudes.

    Wolf-free eras explain the development of Finnishhunting culture

    To understand and discuss why the wolf is especiallyproblematic for Finnish hunting traditions and use ofhunting dogs, we need to focus on the development of thehunting culture in Finland. The long wolf-free period hasencouraged the use of dogs in moose hunting traditions inboth Scandinavia (Sand et al. 2006a) and Finland. Thisform of hunting is particularly vulnerable to the presence ofwolves, a perception that is reflected in the results of thisstudy and, in large part, explains hunters_ negativeevaluation of the wolf. The ecological competition betweenwolves and humans nevertheless persists and arises mostlyover the moose as game and over moose hunting and itstraditions that employ hunting dogs. This conclusion wassupported by the observation that hunters evaluate thespecies most negatively wherever the wolf population isstrongest. In some municipalities in these areas, nearly 50%of the male population engage in huntingespeciallymoose huntingas a hobby, which not only highlights itsimportance as a local use of nature but also accentuates itssocietal meaning. The moose is the most important prey ofwolves in Scandinavia (Wikenros 2001; Mller 2006). Incontrast, moose hunting with dogs is forbidden in NorthAmerica, which explains why, among all stakeholders,hunters are not the most eager objectors to the wolf (Frittset al. 2003). In the state of Wisconsin, however, wolveshave killed dogs used in bear hunting (Treves et al. 2002).

    The absence of wolves has made it possible for ungulatepopulations to increase. During the 1970s, the populationsof not only the moose but also the white-tailed deer(Odocoileus virginianus), wild forest reindeer (Rangifertarandus fennicus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)began to significantly increase in Finland (Tiainen 1998;Lavsund et al. 2003; MAF 2007). Most probably, theincrease resulted from changes in forestry practises thatprovided the ungulates with additional rich food resources.Moose hunting was also better regulated, and the impor-tance of calf hunting was better understood (Lavsund et al.2003). Because large carnivores were few, hunting playeda key role in controlling ungulate populations. As aconsequence of the wolf_s long absence, the moose ispoorly adapted to predation by wolves and is relativelyeasy prey for them (Sand et al. 2006b).

    Eur J Wildl Res (2010) 56:771779 777

  • During the best moose hunting seasons, over 100,000moose have been killed annually. At the same time, thenumber of moose hunters has increased in recent years to anaverage of about 100,000 (Aarnio et al. 2008). Controllingthe moose population has provided not only game forhunters but also a service to society. The popularity of moosehunting has strongly promoted the development of huntingdog activities. In addition, the importance of moose huntingin Finnish hunting culture has made the consequences ofwolf attacks on dogs exceptionally serious, although wolvesmay attack other dog breeds as well (Kojola and Kuittinen2002; Kojola et al. 2004b, c). In regions of scatteredsettlement, hunting is a way of life, and the wolf isconsidered a threat to this traditional way of life as well asto the quality of life. Similar sentiments have also beenreported in Norway (Skogen and Krange 2003), and inSweden, wolves have hindered hunting with dogs (Ericssonand Heberlein 2003). From a historical point of view, thistraditional way of life and hunting was introduced as late asthe end of the 1800s, during a period when the wolf wasvirtually eliminated from forests.

    Regional differenceseffects of the presence of wolf

    Our study suggests that in areas with stable wolf populations,hunters evaluated wolves more negatively than did otherstakeholders. This is connected to the threat the wolf poses tohunting with dogs and to competition over prey. According toBjerke and Kaltenborn (2000) and Ericsson and Heberlein(2003), those who live with wolves and whose well-beingmay be directly affected by them harbour more negativeattitudes towards wolves than do those with less experienceof the species. In some wolf territories in eastern Finland, themoose population has collapseda situation that huntersblame on wolves (Bisi and Kurki 2008). Inside some wolfterritories, the threat of losing a dog is real, but in areaswhere wolves disperse only occasionally, the threat is moretheoretical.

    Areas of reindeer husbandry may present the greatestpotential for wolf conflict due to its ecological andeconomic structure and because of attitudes towards thesociety and decision making in such areas. Modernlegislation allows wolf hunting in reindeer herding areas,however, and the Management Plan for the Wolf Populationin Finland states that the wolf population should notincrease in this area (MAF 2005).

    Conclusions

    In the light of history, the wolf as a species challengeshumankind over and over again. Ecological competitionemerges and evolves as a consequence of man-made

    environmental changes and the ability of the wolf to adaptto these changes. Also, one can also argue that humanschallenge the wolf and that in this struggle, the wolf isalways the loser. Although the wolf nowadays enjoysprotection as a game species under Finnish legislation, thewolf population decreased by about 20% in 2007 (http://www.rktl.fi/riista/riistavarat/suurpedot_2007/susi.html). Thissurprising decline in the wolf population cannot be attributedsolely by the removal of damage-causing individuals.

    The wolf conflict is commonly viewed as a socialphenomenon, and its appearance and increase in importancemay be connected to the social structures of society.Although it appears to be a value-based struggle betweendifferent stakeholdersespecially between hunters andconservationists, we argue that the conflict has both abiological and a social explanation. The wolf is a carnivore,which makes it an ecological competitor for humansthough, nowadays, mainly for hunters. This competitivesituation between wolves and humans has existed through-out history and remains even today. This conflict appears tosociety as a social conflict, where various stakeholdersmake different demands on wolf management policy. Asignificant change in the moose population in Finland and adecline in its importance for hunting would alter theecological background, and consequently, the societalnature of the conflict would change. Such a change wouldnot necessarily eliminate or reduce negative attitudestowards the wolf, but the role of the hunter in this situationcould change. In the future, hunting methods will adapt tothe existence of wolves, which will entail greater cautionand a decrease in the use of dogs. The presence of wolveswill also likely result in smaller moose populations. Criticalwill be how large a wolf population societyincludinghunterswill tolerate. If the wolf were suddenly to haveeconomic value as game, such as with the moose or bear,how would this change affect the attitudes of hunterstowards the species?

    Acknowledgements We warmly thank all those who participated inthis study by responding to the questionnaires. This study wasfinanced by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, theRuralia Institute at the University of Helsinki and the KoneFoundation (T.L.). Marko Svensberg kindly helped us with the data;and Tuija Riukulehto, with the statistical analysis. Robert Thomson(University of Turku) and Stephen Stalter (Language Services,University of Helsinki) kindly checked the language. We thank twoanonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

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    Eur J Wildl Res (2010) 56:771779 779

    The good bad wolfwolf evaluation reveals the roots of the Finnish wolf conflictAbstractIntroductionMaterial and methodsStatistical analysis

    ResultsPositive evaluations and their weight valuesNegative evaluations and the weight valuesThe sum of positive and negative weight valuesRegional differences in wolf evaluation

    DiscussionWolf-free eras explain the development of Finnish hunting cultureRegional differenceseffects of the presence of wolf

    ConclusionsReferences

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