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Police: Kuopio wolf was shot because it did not fear humans

Police say the wolf they shot dead on Tuesday posed a threat to the neighbourhood.

Metsästyskoira susijahdissa Siilinjärven taajamassa.
This hound assisted police in putting down a wolf in Kuopio. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Late on Tuesday night police in the eastern city of Kuopio shot and killed a wolf that had been prowling in the area and behaving strangely.

The wolf paced around an inhabited area north of Kuopio for a full day and did not fear the presence of humans, even letting passers-by approach it.

Eastern Finland Police chief Harri-Pekka Pohjolainen said this behaviour is exceptional and constitutes justification for putting the animal down.

"It wasn't wary or frightened like a wild animal. It let people within a few metres, and that isn't normal," Pohjolainen said.

Carefree wolf posed danger

People took to social media outlets such as Facebook to discuss the killing and some to criticise the police. Some comments have asked why the authorities could not wait for the wolf to leave the area on its own overnight.

Pohjolainen said the wolf had almost 24 hours to leave the densely populated area, home to thousands of people. Police say the wolf could not be repulsed or tranquillised by any usual means.

"We couldn't let a large predator stay in a place like that. We had no choice," Pohjalainen said.

Police said they acted according to proper laws and guidelines; the wolf had made its way into an environment that was not in its territory or along any of its migration routes. The risk of being driven into conflict with humans was clear and present.

"It could have become startled by something and attacked a bicyclist, say, which would have been extremely serious."

The wolf was finally shot in the yard of a detached house, where it found its way by traipsing through domestic thoroughfares and streets.

The wolf's carcass has been sent to the Finnish Food Safety Authority's facility in Oulu for autopsy.

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