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Wolf Population Drops; More Bears Sighted

Finland's wolf population has dropped sharply during the past year while the number of bears has increased. At the beginning of this year, there were an estimated 200 wolves in Finland, down from 250 a year earlier, according to the Game and Fisheries Research Institute. The 20-percent drop comes in contrast to annual growth of about the same percentage over the past decade. On the other hand, the bear population has grown by more than five percent during the same period. The institute says there are at least 880 bears in the country. Bear population has been increasing at a yearly rate of three to five percent over the past decade. Last summer there were about 1,000 bears in Finland, but many migrate to Russia to hibernate. More than one-fifth of Finland's bear population lives in reindeer herding areas. The population declined in Eastern Finland but rose in the west. Stocks of both species fluctuate as individuals move in and out of the country over national borders, and because of hunting -- which is allowed on a limited basis -- and poaching. The institute's census of the country's two other large predator species, wolverine and lynx, will be released later this summer. YLE

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