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Proposed Finnish Fence on Russia Border Will Affect Wildlife, Researchers Warn

Wild BoarInternationalIndiaAfricaThe fence is expected stretch hundreds of kilometers, be more than three meters high and fitted with barbed wire. In the proposed form, it will stop any large mammals from getting over, under or through it, thus disrupting traditional migration patterns, researchers say.The proposed construction of a fence stretching up to 260 kilometers in length along parts of Finland’s border with Russia will disrupt the free movement of wolves, bears and wild boars in the Nordic country, environmental specialists have warned.Previously, the leaders of all of Finland’s main political parties, including Social Democrat leader and incumbent PM Sanna Marin, backed a proposal by the Finnish Border Guard to partially fence the nation’s eastern border, with work expected to commence next summer.While the Border Guard touted the fence as a means of preventing “unauthorized crossings”, the researchers warned that the barrier will also prevent wildlife from moving freely around the sparsely-populated border regions. Since the proposed fence is expected to be more than three meters high, with barbed wire attached to the top, it will stop any large mammals from getting over, under or through it — despite bears being known to be good diggers and lynx being apt climbers.

“The building of the border fence will result in fewer wolves, bears and wild boars entering Finland from Russia. In addition, the number of red deer coming to Finland will decrease,” the Finnish Environment Institute has warned, stressing that large mammals can cover distances of up to 50 kilometers per day and can even swim across lakes and rivers.

While wild boars are often seen in southeastern Finland, they generally live on the Russian side of the border. A fence would therefore have a devastating impact on local numbers, researchers of the Natural Resources Institute Finland have added.Researchers also cited potentially harmful effects on smaller animals. For instance, in northern Finland, even much smaller reindeer fences kill a lot of forest birds every year because they cannot see it and fly straight into it.The Finnish Border Guard pledged to study the impact of the proposed fence on the surrounding ecosystem and how to mitigate any adverse environmental effects.WorldFinnish Border Guard Wants to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Euros on Border Fence Against Russia27 September 2022, 06:21 GMTThe fence is expected to cover up to 20 percent of Finland’s 1,300-kilometer-long border with Russia, especially in areas near designated border crossing points, and will mostly be located in the southeastern corner of the country, which borders Russia’s Leningrad Oblast and has the most cross-border traffic. The fence will also make a substantial dent in the Finnish budget. The Interior Ministry has proposed earmarking 139 million euros for the main phase of the project, coupled with 6 million euros for the test section. The funding covers the fence per se, together with monitoring technology, road infrastructure and associated land acquisitions.Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously ridiculed the border fence in her Telegram account. “Will that be palisade, corrugated board or lath?”, she quipped.The fence is bound to further damage Finland’s once mutually beneficial relations with Russia that, since the Soviet era, encompassed vibrant trade and economic cooperation. Following the start of Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine, Helsinki joined other European Union countries in launching numerous rounds of sanctions against Russia, nearly strangling cross-border economic activity. Finland has also restricted travel, throttled the issuance of visas and shut down its border for Russian tourists. While this move was intended to have symbolic value, it backfired economically, as many border communities have been reliant on Russian visitors and shoppers.



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