Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by Author "Hytönen, Annaleena"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Hytönen, Annaleena (2016)
    The monitoring of large carnivores (LC) in Finland is mostly based on hunters’ and other naturalists’ field work. They serve as volunteers (later LCVs), which are authorized for the task by a game management associations. The LCVs make sightings and verify sightings made by others untrained citizens in their own area around the year. LCVs make the data collected available to researchers and authorities nowadays mainly through Interned-based TASSU-database, which was introduced in 2009. This activity, in which volunteer is working for the help of scientific research, can be characterized as volunteer participation in knowledge or citizen science. There has been no previous publications made concerning the Finnish LCVs. The significance of the activity is so great for the LC monitoring that finding out what is the activity of the LCVs like when making lynx and wolf sightings is very important. I separated the research question into three sub questions 1) how actively did the LCVs make and record sightings, 2) what were the periodical rhythms of sightings recorded like and 3) what kind of content (themes) was included into supplementary comments written by the LCVs to each sighting made? I also analyzed the activity from the perspective of citizen science – what kind of science do the LCVs express through their notes in the supplementary comments? The research material consisted of all the wolf and lynx sightings made during five winter seasons (2001‒02, 2005‒06, 2010‒11, 2011‒12 and 2012‒13). I compared the data between different winter seasons, between wolf and lynx and between the data collected after launching of nationwide TASSU-database (i.e. GIS-database with Internet access) and the time before. Most of the LCVs had recorded and delivered sightings altogether in two winter seasons of five – only a few wrote observations in all of the five winter seasons. The sightings of both species was centred in the wintertime, probably due to the fact that the snow cover on the ground increases the probability of finding animal tracks. Because of the recorded sightings centring to weekends I assumed that LCVs and other persons who make LC sightings spend time in the nature mostly during their free-time, for example while hunting or jogging. The size and distribution of the population is affecting the amount of sightings recorded and also, as the results of this research indicate, presumably does the timing of lasting snow cover. On the grounds of the supplementary comments that I interpreted, I assume that also peoples’ awareness of the activity and their willingness to inform their LC sightings to LCVs and also the LCVs' own motivation to record sightings has a substantial affect in the amount of sightings recorded. The supplementary comments to the sightings made were used in higher percentage in wolf sightings than in lynx sightings every winter season. This resulted at least partially from the larger population size of lynx – alongside with the number of sightings made, the perceived need or willingness to comment decreased. Furthermore wolf as a rare (‘exotic’) species in the middle of conflicts may motivate to use the comment field more often than the lynx. After launching of TASSU-database the usage of the comment field became more frequent in the recorded sightings of both species. The frequencies of the themes and subthemes that I recognized from the supplementary comments varied slightly between the recorded sightings of wolf and lynx. The frequencies grew statistically significantly during the time of TASSU-database. It may be infered, that the tool that is used to record the sightings has a relevance to the frequency of the usage of the comment field and to the contents of the recorded information. The usage of the comment field in the time of TASSU-database is presumably found as a route for passing real time information to research and also to other LCVs. Possibly in some cases, it is used for trying to affect the regional LC policy making. The science that LCVs are practicing is not limited only to passing the information to scientists – their role is also to play as a local LC expert of their own region and pass on current information about LCs and act as a support person for the local people.