The legal protection of the wolf in Finland makes their ancient conflict with domestic reindeer more acute than in Russia. We shall focus on the Sami area around Sallivaara Herding Cooperative. Here, as all over Lapland, predators (wolf, wolverine and bear) are protected by law and reindeer herders are allowed to kill them only in extreme situations of threat. Instead, herders have the right to state compensation for reindeer losses, in effect (as they ironically remark) being paid to raise food for predators. However, the shift from intensive to extensive herding or ranching, in which humans no longer follow the reindeer closely as they still do in most of Russia, has made it increasingly hard to prove that a reindeer was killed by a predator. In Finland, since the passing of the Reindeer Herding Bills starting in 1932 all reindeer are classified legally as domestic. Yet the shift in herding technique has allowed domestic reindeer to become behaviourally more wild in the forest. Thus, the categories of domestic and wild are now blurred in a fluid and contested reality of ferality.
We will study reindeer herders' cosmology and symbolic thinking about animal agency, changes in their relation to the wolf and other predators, the cyclical fluctuations in the new balance between tameness and ferality through the reindeer herding seasons, and the herders' quest for greater agency and their demands for a change in legal regime. We will study these complicated legal regimes concerning predators and compensation, in which the law gives greater weight to the interests of wild animals rather than of domestic animals or their owners, and the implications of this perspective for legal philosophy.