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Establishing the cross-border cooperation to safeguard the declining wild forest reindeer (KA518)
Funded by Karelia ENPI 2007-2013

Objective of the project

To safeguard the wild forest reindeer by updating the status of Karelia’s wild forest reindeer population and establishing the cooperation between the game animal researchers.

Main activities

• Finding out the number of Karelia’s wild forest reindeer with the aerial survey. • Clarifying the important pasture lands and migration routes with the GPS-collars. • Compiling the wild forest reindeer action plan. • Increasing the knowledge about the wild forest reindeer.


Active cross-border wild forest reindeer management group was established. Group worked intensively during the project period. The implemented actions and the Wild forest reindeer action plan are the results of the group’s work. In the Wild forest reindeer action plan the future aims of cooperation are listed and also a comprehensive wild forest reindeer contact list is compiled. On the grounds of the work of this project and created contacts it’s possible to continue cooperation also in future for saving the wild forest reindeer populations. The present status of the Karelian wild forest reindeer population was found out. Now the number of them in the Republic of Karelia is known (max. 2400 ind.), and also the current distribution area and amount of calves (21 % of all individuals) are now known. The quality and quantity of the threats and prospects, most significant of the threats is poaching, have also been clarified. All this information is compiled in the Wild forest reindeer action plan. Based on this updated information it’s possible to plan conservation areas and investigate research and management needs of the species. In the reports of the Wild forest reindeer action plan the important areas and conservation plans are listed. The collars are purchased and database is ready to use. After the project period the collars will be put on the reindeer and with the help of the GPS-data more information about the important areas will be achieved. The managers and researchers of both countries are able to use Wild forest reindeer action plan when planning the national management actions. Perhaps the most important result for the Finnish researchers and managers is the following fact: The Karelian population acted as the source for the Kainuu wild forest reindeer population in the 1940s, while the subspecies was temporarily extinct from Finland. Currently it is not realistic to expect this kind of immigration towards Finland, since the population in Karelia has substantially declined, and the distribution range has decreased and withdrawn towards north and east, further away from the Finnish border. This might effect on the conservation status of the Finnish wild forest reindeer in future. Current wild forest reindeer information has been shared locally and globally. High-quality materials (internet sites, paper brochure, circulating photo exhibition, video, slideshow) are produced and shared. Most of the materials, also the Wild forest reindeer action plan, are freely available from the internet sites (www.forestreindeer.fi).

Basic information



2013-07-19 - 2014-12-31

Total Budget / Programme funding

533 327 € / 221 415 €

Lead partner

Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (FGFRI)
Lead partner web-site


Metsähallitus, Natural Heritage Services (NHS) of Ostrobothnia
Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences (IB KarRC RAS)