With the funding of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Hunters’ Association is implementing a two-year project aimed at activating cottage owners to catch invasive alien predators either by themselves or to ask for help from hunters in the area.
The Raccoon Dog and Mink, classified as Invasive Alien Species, threatening Finland’s nature biodiversity.
The aim of the project is to make the inhabitants of the cottages understand the detrimental effect of alien predators on the endemic birds and to see their own important role in controlling invasive alien predator populations and especially in improving waterfowl populations. Understanding and knowledge is important to reduce alien predators.
Hunting legislation changed and the Alien Species Act and Decree were enacted in 2019 so that eradicating mink and raccoon dogs no longer requires a completed hunter’s degree or a paid game management fee. However, eradicating invasive alien predators must be authorized by the landowner or the holder of the hunting right and must be carried out ethically. With the updated legislation, summer cottage owners can also be used to catch mink and raccoon dogs by themselves. This requires that they have to have knowledge and skills about mink ecology and the use of the traps. The project is preparing electronic and printed training and counseling material and also video material.
On the other hand, the aim is to get the cottage owners to ask for help from local hunting clubs, especially when catching a raccoon dog. Raccoon dog traps catch the raccoon dogs alive.
It’s not realistic to expect all cottage owners to have the opportunity to ethically kill a Raccoon Dog, but hunters are needed to help. The project will create provincial and local networks to find help to install traps and organising hunting. The project will also create the resource and knowledge for local hunting clubs and hunters in the area to offer help to cottage owners to catch minks and raccoon dogs.
Catching alien predators is an effective way to improve the success of those bird species nesting on the ground.
Every year, 40-50,000 minks and 140-150,000 raccoon dogs are caught in Finland. The project is implemented by the Finnish Hunters’ Association and its district organizations. There are more than 500,000 summer cottages in Finland.
Coastal areas and islands are productive habitats for invasive alien predators. At the same time, the same areas are also productive habitats for waterfowl. The shores of water bodies are of great importance for biodiversity.
Species: Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), American Mink (Mustela vison)
Species characteristics: Invasive Alien species, Generalist predators
Type of actions: Assistance in catching invasive alien predators and borrowing of trapping equipment, Communication, Management of habitats and wildlife
Starting date: 2021
Leading partner: Finnish Hunters' Association www.metsastajaliitto.fi
Other partners: Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Hunting clubs, districts of the Finnish Hunters' Association, Leisure Residents Association, Summer cottage owners