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Two wolves die in car accidents

In the first known case of its kind, a wolf equipped with a GPS tracking device was killed by a car early Sunday in Polvijärvi, North Karelia.

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Susi jäi auton yliajamaksi kahdella paikkakunnalla. Image: Yle Grafiikka

The young male had recently left its old pack in Vieremä near Iisalmi, some 200km to the north-west.

Police say the predator died immediately after the accident. The vehicle was slightly damaged but the driver was unhurt.

The lone wolf, which was just over a year old, had split off from its family group in late June or early July.

“This young individual was looking for a territory of its own,” explains Ilpo Kojola, senior research scientist at the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL).

The carcasses of wolves found dead in the wild or killed in traffic accidents are transferred to the Food Safety Agency Evira for post-mortems. Kojola says in this case there is no doubt about the cause of death.

Second accident in south-west

On the same night, another wolf was killed when it was struck by a car on Route 8 south of the west-coast town of Pori. A male aged about a year and a half, it was crossing the road with another wolf at the time.

Kojola says that an average of one to three wolves die in road accidents annually.

“So far, a collared wolf has not been hit by a car, although one was killed by a train,” says Kojola.

According to the latest RKTL estimate, there are 150-165 wolves in Finland. Annually some 20-30 are shot under regular hunting permits. A few more individuals that are considered dangerous are shot under special permits.

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