Finland paid approximately 1.4 million euros in compensation for damage caused by protected animals in 2018, of which barnacle geese amounted to a record 1.1 million euros.
These figures were released by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre), which paid most of the compensation to the agriculture sector.
The report revealed that the largest chunk went to agricultural producers in the North Karelian region where the barnacle goose created damage worth approximately 1,024,600 euros.
Additionally, the state paid 800,000 euros to reindeer herders to cover the cost of damage caused by golden eagles that prey on reindeers. Claims for damages are often hard to assess.
For instance, compensation is based on the success of eagle breeding in reindeer herding areas and it is often impossible to count the number of reindeer attacked by eagles.
According to the ELY Centre, strengthening of bird populations and changes in migratory behaviours has also led to a steady increase in damages that have to be paid since the 2010s.
With a growing number of claims and rising costs, the environment ministry is now preparing a new law that aims to make the compensation procedure clearer and focus on the prevention of damage.