PRESS RELEASE – February 15th, 2015 (from the original in Finnish)
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) has joined forces with the WildLeaks initiative, backed by the California-based Elephant Action League. In this way FANC intends to strengthen the fight against the poaching of large predators in Finland and Scandinavia.
WildLeaks provides an online platform where one can anonymously report wildlife crimes. It is now providing this service also in Finnish language. Specialists from FANC will be involved in the handling of incoming reports. WildLeaks can also be used by Finns who may witness wildlife crimes while travelling abroad.
“Poaching of bears, wolves and other carnivores in Finland and the rest of Scandinavia very often go undetected and unchallenged when people do not speak up about them, and whistleblowers can play a crucial role in fighting back” says WildLeaks founder and project leader Mr. Andrea Crosta.
“WildLeaks is a new tool in the fight against poaching in Finland. Hopefully it will draw more international attention to the illegal hunting problem in Finland, which has been kept quiet for a long time”, says Risto Sulkava the chairman of FANC.
“Based on our observations there is clearly willingness to intervene in the illegal hunting in the countryside. We believe there is a need for a new wildlife crime reporting tool”, says Marko Kettunen from FANC’s North Karelia predator task force.
Many large predators are illegally killed in Finland each year.
It is estimated that 20-30 wolves are poached in Finland each year. The wolf population fell from around 250 to less than 150 in the winter of 2006–2007, largely due to poaching. Poaching wolves is possible because some hunters find it acceptable and a hunting party can include a dozen or more members.
Hunting bears may involve the use of illegal carrion or they are illegally lured to where the hunters want it to be. Bears are also caught using illegal cages and traps. They are occasionally shot in their winter lairs after the hunting season has ended.
Illegal persecution of wolverines has had an impact on the slowly growing population and geographical spread of this species. Several dozen wolverines are killed illegally each year.