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Politics & Current Affairs

“Save The Wolves”? Siberia’s Not Hearing It

A symbolic state of emergency was recently declared to draw attention to a population that’s about seven times the size it should be. Towns are offering a variety of incentives to hunters to help reduce numbers.

What’s the Latest Development?

The governor of the Sakha-Yakutia region of Siberia has declared a state of emergency to highlight the growing problem of wolf packs preying on livestock, including horses and domesticated reindeer. Typically hunters are paid for each adult and cub pelt they produce, but this year towns are providing extra incentives, with one even offering a snowmobile to whoever brings the most pelts. The mayor of another town said he had to organize a hunting party to kill as many wolves as possible. According to the Sakha-Yakutia government, 16,000 reindeer and 313 horses were killed in 2012.

What’s the Big Idea?

Experts say the problem isn’t necessarily overpopulation, though at 3,500, the number of wolves is about seven times its normal size. Rabbits are the wolves’ primary source of food, but a cyclical collapse in the rabbit population has caused those living in populated areas to switch to reindeer herds and horses. Despite the extra measures being taken to cull the packs, wolves will most likely continue to be a threat, and conservationists such as the World Wildlife Fund’s Vladimir G. Krever are largely unconcerned. “There are too many wolves in Russia,” he says.

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Read it at The New York Times


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