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6 May, 2007 09:07

Wolves cause serious damage to flocks in Kalmykia

Wolves cause serious damage to flocks in Kalmykia

The population of wolves in the southern Russian Republic of Kalmykia has grown so big this spring that shepherds are having problems protecting their flocks from hungry packs.

“Within an hour they've destroyed 60 head of sheep – and that's 120,000 roubles,” complains Oleg Dardjiev, a shepherd.

Shepherds fire their rifles in the air and burn gunpowder to frighten the beasts – a method used for ages. But nowadays wolves have become too smart to be kept away by the tricks.

Oleg Dardjiev says, “When a man walks out with a rifle the wolf hides. But if you go back to the house – he's quick to come back”.

And there is more work to do since the fence has been completely destroyed. The owner of the flock says the wolves must have attacked from two sides making the sheep panic with fear. The terrified sheep did everything to escape the slaughter.

Now it's time for professional hunters to step in. They set off looking for the beasts in the expanse of the Kalmykia steppe.

During the day the scrubland serves as cover for the wolf to hide. It is not easy to find them even coming across a paw print of an animal is considerable a success.

“One thing is to find its prints, then you have to come closer to the animal and another thing is to overtake it,” says Naran Bikneev, a hunter.

It is much more effective to hunt wolves from a helicopter. This might seem cruel to some extent, but people are sure that it is the only way to protect their flocks and businesses from the hungry beasts.

As the solution of this problem is not financed on an official level in Kalmykia, the shepherds have to pay from their own pocket for their security.