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10 Jan, 2013 15:21

Pack attack: Second Russian republic on hunt for wolves

A second Russian republic in Siberia has begun hunting down wolves that continue to threaten livestock, following a similar move by Yakutia, the largest Russian republic in Siberia. But the experts are warning that the plan is not feasible.

In January Siberia’s Republic of Khakassia, located in south-central Siberia, organized a group of 30 people, made up of expert hunters and specialists from the State Committee that began hunting wolves in the Lake Balankul region.

“When wolves start attacking deer and livestock they have to be killed and the population controlled. This is the right policy,” Russian WWF’s Head of the Biodiversity Program Vladimir Krever told RT.

During the holiday season hunters were able to kill four wolves. 

Wolf hunting involves a lot of resources. The hunters use a roundup tactic by first luring the animals to a specific place and making sure they stay there, then marking the territory with flags.

As the area is secured, somewhere between three to 12 hunters surround a pack of wolves and position themselves not more than 50-60 meters apart and pursue the attack together.

Republic of Khakassia has been implementing measures to cut down on the number of wolves in the area since 2011, as the predators continue to threaten domestic livestock.

Last year, the republic managed to hunt down 129 wolves, and the year before that 103.

Yakutia, located in north-eastern Russia, is also fighting with the influx of wolves in the area and has ordered more than 3,000 wolves to be killed in three months due to increased attacks on livestock. Authorities declared a state of emergency and summoned hunting parties, promising six-figure rewards for the top hunters.

More than 16,000 domestic reindeer and some 300 horses have been killed by the overpopulation of wolves in 2012, officials said, adding that damage to the region’s households topped 157 million rubles (US$5 million) last year.Vladimir Krever argues that the number of wolves can even be higher in the region, but the main point is that the number of wolves in the area of such a size “isn’t even that many.” Even though Krever does not disagree with the policy of increasing the hunt for the wolves, he still believes that the idea of killing 3,000 wolves is not a feasible one. “Normally they kill around 600 wolves a year in Yakutia. If you really tried you might be able to double that figure if you used expensive helicopters and planes to spot them,” Krever said. “Even if they were able to kill 3,000 wolves the population would recover quickly. But they simply won’t get near to killing 3,000 wolves. This is a totally unrealistic target.”