New plant and animal species added to the national list of invasive alien species – breeding of wolfdogs now banned
The Government Decree on Invasive Alien Species issued on 23 May 2019 included an annex with a list of invasive alien species of national concern. In connection with the amended Decree, several new plant and animal species and two new taxonomic groups were added to the list. The Decree also banned the breeding of wolfdogs. The new provisions enter into force on 1 June 2019.
The new species added to the list of invasive alien species of national concern are Nootka lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis), Aleutian ragwort (Jacobaea cannabifolia), Himalayan knotweed (Reynoutria x bohemica), Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica), giant knotweed (Reynoutria sachalinensis), Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis), large-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), rugosa or Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa, incl. Rosa rugosa f. alba) and orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). The ban on imports and sales of Japanese rose enters into force on 1 June 2019, whereas the ban on cultivating the species will enter into force after a three-year transitional period.
When it comes to animals, the new taxonomic groups added to the list are chipmunks (Tamias) and falcons (Falconiformes), while the Spanish slug (Agrion vulgaris), the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) and the agile frog (Rana dalmatina) were added as new species. Spanish slug eggs and young, for instance, are easily spread from one location to another in connection with soil transports and along with soil attached to the roots of flower and tree seedlings, bulbs and other plant roots. For this reason, suppliers of garden plants, seedlings and soil play a particularly important role in preventing the spread of the Spanish slug.
New species will also be added to the list of alien species of EU concern
Alien species are animals, plants and other organisms that have spread outside of their native areas due to human activity. An alien species is considered invasive when, if released into the wild, it threatens the biodiversity of an area by either encroaching on the habitats of native species, spreading diseases, hunting native species or competing with them for the same nutrients or nesting places.
Species on the List of alien species of Union concern or national concern may not be imported, cultivated, sold, otherwise kept or released into the environment. The List of alien species of EU concern will also likely be updated in June.
Breeding of wolfdogs banned as of the start of June
The wolfdog is an invasive alien species in Finland and imports of the species have been banned since the start of 2016. The new Government Decree also bans the breeding of wolfdogs. Wolfdogs may not be sold, purchased or otherwise kept, nor may they be released into the environment. The Decree defines wolfdogs as hybrids of domestic dogs and wolves in the first four generations.
The purpose of the bans is to protect the genetic purity of the wolf. Due to their genetic and physical traits, wolfdogs are better equipped than domestic dogs to survive in the wild, which increases the risk that they will crossbreed with wolves.
Breeders of wolfdogs should contact the authorities for information on how to cease their breeding activities in a way that is controlled and in line with the Animal Welfare Act. Wolfdogs that have been obtained legally as pets may be kept until their natural death. Owners must, however, take care that their animals do not reproduce or escape into the wild. Owners of wolfdogs may not hand their animals over to new owners.
Executive assistance provided for capturing wolfdogs if necessary
Although animals belonging to invasive alien species may be captured and killed in the same manner as unprotected animals, this must be carried out so that no danger is posed to game animals (Hunting Act, section 49). Because it is not possible to distinguish a wolfdog from a domestic dog with absolute certainty based on its physical traits, any animal suspected of being a wolfdog must be identified as such using a DNA analysis. Only after such identification can the animal be killed with a permit issued by the Finnish Wildlife Agency. The removal of wolfdogs is carried out as executive assistance in large game matters.
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Pekka Kemppainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 162 456
Johanna Niemivuo-Lahti, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 16 2259