What beguiled me on this trip was that it was evident from every Finnish person I spoke too that they had a deep respect for nature. This included the hunters. Even the predators were an important part of their mythology. For instance, people used to collect the first droppings that a bear produced after hibernation and kept them in a pouch to wear so that they would have the strength of a bear all year. Another indication of this respect was the almost total lack of litter found in natural places which can be a real problem in Scotland. Our student guides just didn’t understand why you would leave rubbish behind. Solo walks in the forest were common and important to people of all ages. My impression was that the Finnish culture still maintained a real connection with nature whilst some urbanisation in Scotland may have severed this connection.
“We have around 500,000 capercaillie in Finland ” said Tapio Vähä-Jaakkola, our host at a local hunting club, as our jaws dropped. My colleagues Chris and Molly from RSPB work on capercaillie and the population in Scotland is in a pretty sorry state, having dropped to around 2000, from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s. Capercaillie populations are healthy enough for Finns to hunt tens of thousands of them a year. “Most of the capercaillie hunting takes place in Northern Finland”, Tapio said later. In the 10,000 hectares of forest controlled by the Metsästysseura Haukka Ry hunting club, they hadn’t shot capercaillie for many years “Last year we calculated that there were enough capercaillie for us to hunt two.”
By participating in the survey and reporting bag numbers the hunters themselves are key figures in game management. Due to the vastly different cultural heritage of hunting in Norway, where hunting is much more a way of life than an elite hobby, divides between shooting and conservation communities simply do not exist as they do in the UK. However it is inspiring to see what can be achieved when all parties recognise the requirement for robust and contemporary population data and work together to ensure gamebird hunting is carried out at a sustainable level each year.
Feedback from Stuart Graham, SNH, NET4 2018: I thoroughly enjoyed the training
trip to Latvia. I cannot believe how much we
managed to fit into our week and the attention to
detail to the arrangements from our host (Andis)
was impeccable. The quality of all the individuals
we met was of the highest quality and they were
from the top levels of their respective organisations
and devoted their time to share their knowledge.
Our group stuck together well and we therefore
learned from each other as well as our hosts. We
also got a great insight to Latvian customs,
tourism, diet/foods, history as well as landscape,
wildlife and conservation.
Approximately 3.9% of Latvia’s land is covered by bogs.. Although there are several other different wetland habitat types, from western taiga to boggy woodlands. During our visit we visited 3 different bogs in several different states. The first bog we visited was a Natura 2000 site and in its current state was as a flooded wetland. The bog had been stripped, complete with railways to remove the peat and a nearby town had been created to house the workers for the peat extraction (Seda).
LATVIA – 2015 Gauja River – Latvia As seen by; (left to right) Ewan Campbell (Scottish Natural Heritage), John McTague (Scottish Wildlife Trust), Sarah West (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), Ian Stewart (Forest Enterprise Scotland), Rab Potter (Scottish Wildlife Trust), Kate Sampson (The National Trust for Scotland) This report provides feedback/information/reflections/musings and good […]
Our first day saw us travel 50km north of our base in Tampere to Seitseminen National Park. Founded in 1982 and covering an area of 45.5km², the National Park is managed by the state owned enterprise Metsähallitus. Seitseminen National Park frames a mosaic of landscapes with a diverse mix of habitats which include; ancient forests, esker ridges & open bogs.
Capercaillie in Vosges. Joint Report The exchange was hosted by Arnaud Hurstel of Groupe Tetras Vosges (GTV) in France. The purpose of the trip was to look at the status of the capercaillie population in the Vosges Mountains and the LIFE project “Forests for Capercaillie in the Vosges”. We visited several capercaillie sites, including Special Protection […]