WildForestReindeerLIFE is a seven-year (2016–2023) population management and conservation project, with the central aim of reintroducing wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) to their native habitat in southern Suomenselkä, Finland. Lauhanvuori and Seitseminen National Parks have been chosen as the reintroduction sites, where wild forest reindeer will be released after on-site enclosure period.
In addition to the reintroductions, the project will implement a diverse range of measures that promote the strengthening and dispersal of the wild forest reindeer population and monitor population development.
The landscape utilization and habitat requirements of wild forest reindeer will be assessed by following individuals equipped with satellite collars. The project will search for restorable habitat sites favorable to wild forest reindeer and compile instructions on wild forest reindeer -friendly forest management practices suitable for commercial forests. The project will also assess human-caused disturbances influencing wild forest reindeer and investigate ways for reducing traffic mortality. The management plan for Finnish wild forest reindeer will be updated halfway through the project. This plan is a pivotal population management tool originally published in 2007. Species recognizability will also be increased through diverse communication aimed at various target groups.
The project is coordinated by Parks & Wildlife Finland, with nine partner organizations also collaborating.
Project expenses total 5.16 million euros, 60% of which will be funded by the European Union. National funding will be received from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, and various collaborating partners. The Finnish Hunters’ Association is also financially supporting the project. Reintroduction costs are approximately one million euros. The majority of the funding is therefore allocated towards other actions such as the restoration of wild forest reindeer -suitable habitats.
Project coordinator Sakari Mykrä can be contacted for additional information concerning the project (+358 20 639 5082; sakari.mykra[at]metsa.fi).
This website has been compiled by the Parks & Wildlife Finland as part of the WildForestReindeerLIFE project (LIFE15 NAT/FI/000881). Project beneficiaries take full responsibility for the materials included on this website. Texts and pictures published on this website should not be interpreted to represent the official views or stands of the European Commission or the European Union.
Wild forest reindeer
Latin name: Rangifer tarandus fennicus, a wild "cousin" of the reindeer
Range and numbers:
In Finland, 700 individuals in Kainuu and 1,250 in Suomenselkä
In Russian Karelia up to 2,400, with an estimated 1,500 in Arkhangelsk and 2,500 in Kom (the question of the taxonomic status of wild reindeer of Arkhangelsk province and Komi Republic is open and requires special research). See range map.
Conservation status in Finland: Near Threatened (NT)