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Patrol spots rare wolverine along Finland's border with Russia

A video clip showed the wolverine running eagerly towards border guard officers, then the animal suddenly stopped and scurried away.

File photo of a wolverine. There were an estimated 400 wolverines in Finland in the spring of 2021, according to the Natural Resources Institute (Luke). Image: Pentti Kallinen / Yle

A rare wolverine was spotted by Border Guard officers patrolling an area along the Russian border in South Karelia on Tuesday, according to the agency.

The Border Guard of Southeast Finland made the announcement about the sighting in a tweet, which also included a short video (siirryt toiseen palveluun) of the highly endangered mammal.

The video clip showed the wolverine running eagerly towards border guard officers, then the animal suddenly stopped and scurried away.

The wolverine, or Gulo gulo in Latin, is known for being particularly strong despite its diminutive size and is able to kill prey much larger than itself.

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However, due to trapping practices, numbers of the species have declined since the 19th century. They can still be found in the Nordics as well as far northern regions of Russia and North America.

There were an estimated 400 wolverines in Finland in the spring of 2021, according to the Natural Resources Institute (Luke). The size of Finland's wolverine population has increased tenfold since the early 1990s.

Southeast Finland's Border Guard head of communications, Enni Matikainen, said it is rare for officers to run across wolverines while on patrol. One of the officers who spotted the animal on Tuesday had not encountered one in more than 30 years, he said.