Consequences of the Damages

Around 95 % from the found damages that large carnivores cause in Finland are targeted to reindeer husbandry. Some 25 000 to 35 000 reindeer are lost to large carnivores every year. One fifth of them are found from the nature.

Reindeer pasture in broad areas in different types of terrains. A carcass disappears quickly as there are other animals that can eat it. This is why most of the damages are not found. In addition, getting compensation requires clarifications on the reason why the reindeer died. In order to do this, the carcass has to be found fairly quickly after it has been killed. It is difficult to say what animal killed a reindeer if the carcass is old. Then the compensation will not be paid.

Reindeer heads collected for the evidence


During the winter time it is easier to follow predators and search for carcasses. If there is no snow, it is virtually impossible to do it. Hence, a lot of the carcasses are found by accident. Some reindeer herding cooperatives have also so called death collars on their reindeer. The collars help to locate a dead reindeer. However, the signals do not always reach all areas and it is not very cost efficient to put collars on all reindeer.

The growth in the amount of damages is mainly due to the growing amount of large carnivores in the area. There is some annual variation depending on the weather conditions and availability of other appropriate foods.

In the past years, the damage wolverine is causing has grown. In 2013, it killed around 68 % of the reindeer. In quantities, the biggest numbers have been reached in the northernmost reindeer herding cooperatives in the Sámi area. Damages are also considerable in the eastern, border area cooperatives.

The damages that large carnivores cause effect in several ways. In the worst areas the economical, social and psychological pressure on the herders and their families is significant.

Socio-economic effects of large carnivores

Socio-economic effects, large carnivores and reindeer herding in Finland