November 28, 2023

Wolves: An Emergency Situation

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By Will Graves, author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages and a soon to be new release about wolves in the United States.

sakha republic

Early this January an emergency situation has been declared in the republic by the Sakha leader Yegor Borisov due to an overpopulation of wolves. He has had his fill of wolves. The wolves are prowling at the edge of villages frightening the people. There are an estimated 3,500 wolves in the republic, and Mr. Borisov said the ideal number of wolves should be 500. In 2012 the wolves killed 16,111 reindeer and 313 horses. The estimated value of one reindeer is about $328.00, which adds up to an approximate loss of $5,000,000 dollars to reindeer herders. Although 750 wolves had been recently culled, the damage done in 2012 compared to damage in 2011 went up by a 4.3 %. To reduce the predation by wolves in any given area, it usually takes a culling of from 80 to 90% of the wolves for about 8 to 10 years. Reducing the population by 10 to 50% one year will have negligible effect. (Observations by Will Graves, author of “Wolves in Russia.”)

Mr. Borisov will initiate a culling program on the 15th of January 2013, the goal of which is to reduce the wolf population from 3,500 to 500. As an incentive for hunters and herders to cull wolves, he has placed a bounty of $629 or $680 per each wolf pelt. The difference in the amount of the bounty is because of fluctuations in the currency exchange rates. Additionally, the first three hunters who cull the most wolves will receive awards mounting to more than $3000 each. (Source. “Russian Region Declares State of Emergency Due to Wolf Attacks,” Internet Radio Free Europe, January 11, 2013.

“Wolves at the Door in Siberia,”, Internet article by Andrew Kramer, January 10, 2013.)

Vladimir Krever, the Russian World Wildlife Federation’s Head of the State Committee Biodiversity Program, said, “When wolves start attacking deer and livestock they have to be killed and the population controlled. This is the right policy.” He made this statement when talking about Khakassia, a republic located about 1,000 miles southwest of Sakha (Yakutiya). He added, “Even if they were able to kill 3,000 wolves the population would recover quickly…”
(Source. “Second Russian Republic Declares Open Season on Wolves,” Internet Outdoor Hub Reporters, January 11, 2013.)

In addition to heavy predation on reindeer, the wolves carry and spread around parasites and diseases. The parasite Echinococcus granulosus is particularly damaging and threatening, including being a threat to humans. A resident of the city of Yakutsk send me a notice that the Yakutian (Sakha) Scientific Research Institute of Agricultural Science sent out to residents of Yakutiya in 2010. The notice warned people about the threat of Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis. On 3 March 2010 I sent a cover letter and a translation of that report to the Montana Environmental Quality Control Committee.

In 1962 it was reported that E. g. occurred widely in wolves in the Soviet Union. (Source.“Cystic Echinococcosis in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, Robert L. Rausch, 2003, page 877, by Petrov and Delianova 1962.)
Three of four wolves examined in the Novosibusk Oblast were found by Lukashenko in 1975 to be infected with E. multilocularis, and the fourth with E. g. (Ibed, page 876.).

In my opinion, the bottom line is that wolf numbers need to be controlled.