Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

Master of Science Johanna Suutarinen

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Science, Ecology and Genetics Research Unit

Field of study

Animal ecology

Date and time of the thesis defence

3.5.2019 12:00

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, hall IT115

Topic of the dissertation

Ecology of lawbreaking. Effects of poaching on legally harvested wolf populations in human-dominated landscapes


Professor Marco Apollonio, University of Sassari, Italy


Research Professor Ilpo Kojola, Natural Resources Institute Finland

Effects of poaching on legally harvested wolf populations in human-dominated landscapes

Illegal killing or poaching of wolves in human-inhabited areas where wolves are also legally harvested is a special case of wildlife crime. This doctoral thesis examines wolf poaching in Finland and Sweden from the ecological perspective.

Poaching seemed to limit the study populations despite the management efforts that used legal hunting as a tool to increase tolerance towards wolves. Poaching outnumbered other causes of death.

Other causes of death were legal harvest, traffic and natural mortalities. Larger population size increased and the number of legally harvested wolves decreased poaching in both countries.

Remoteness to human inhabitation and the detectability of the wolves from the forest roads increased the likelihood of poaching in Finland.

Adult wolves suffered high risk of poaching in both populations. Risk was highest in early spring in Finland. Inbreeding was not related to the disappearances of adult wolves in Sweden.

The first paper examines the causes of mortality among collared Finnish wolves and the role of estimated poaching rates on population changes.

The second paper related the likelihood of being poached to covariates expressing different dimensions of the wolf conflict at two spatial scales (territory and country level) in Finland.

Third paper turns the focus to Sweden, and examines the disappearances of adult wolves in relation to population size, legal harvest and inbreeding.

The first two studies were done in collaboration with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the third with the Scandinavian Wolf Research Project SKANDULV.

Last updated: 18.4.2019