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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Tuva declared war on wolves

Tuva declared war on wolvesTuva is mobilizing its resources for a war with wolves, whole population reached record numbers in the republic, after the prohibition on using poisons for their control took effect in Russia. Currently the numbers are in the vicinity of 2500-3000 individuals. In 2011,  3 million 250 thousand rubles will be apportioned for this goal. This is  four times more than in 2009, when the question was first posed about the necessity for regulation of the numbers of these predators. In the population density of wolves, according to data of Commission of hunting and fishing, is in the first place in the Russian Federation. Just the reported losses from wolf attacks on sheepherding stations counted 34 million rubles in 2010. In 2010 hunters killed 433 wolves, which was several times more than in then preceding years. For comparison: in Irkutsk region and in neighboring Khakassia, only 30 wolves were killed  in each.

This year, the Commission managed to bring into the project of regulation the numbers of wolves an experienced wolf hunter Ivan oyun. He shared his experiences in  a government conference.

The Tuvans always have viewed wolves as adversaries deserving respect. Wolves are  intelligent, they know their territory, and their own place in it. In the case when wolves from elsewhere invade, the pack will deal with them mercilessly. But a predator is a predator. There are fewer and fewer hoofed animals in the forests, and often there are not enough to feed the local wolf population. The rule of survival for the predators is always the same… in some regions of the country ,they attack domestic livestock at night  right in the yards of village dwellers' houses.  Usually a wolf pack consists of five-six individuals. Announcements have appeared on the web that in Yakutia  about 400 wolves gathered into a huge pack and are coming closer to human habitations. In several days, the wolves had torn up 30 horses and continue attacks on livestock. The danger to people has become so realistic that there is talk about bringing in the army.

In Tere-Khol district, the packs have already 18-20 wolves… it is not by chance that practically all the active force of the republic attended the meeting with Chairman of the Government Sholban Kara-ool on the eve of Shagaa, on January 21 - the leaders of federal and republican nature protection agencies, chairmen of district administrations, and state hunting inspectors from the hunting and fishing commission.  There was only one matter to discuss - about regulating the wolf population of the republic. The experience of  battue-round-up type of hunt, which was first tried on the territory of the republic in 2010 showed that the results can be very good if all the interested entities are mobilized.

Last year, during the battue hunt, it was not only the hunting state inspectors who participated, but also amateur hunters who arrived with their snowmobiles even from Kemerovo region. In that region, it s not very simple to hunt all over the place, because every hunter has his strictly defined area; for that reason the numbers of wolves there are minimal, and at the same time there are 300 registered snowmobiles. Of the three snowmobiles belonging to the State commission, two  are beyond repair.

The most interested party in this matter are the districts. Where is the sense of trying to increase the livestock population, when a significant proportion will just go to feed the "forest sanitation". But, judging from last year's results , now in the endless fight "herders vs. wolves"  the first ones are winning. Regardless that paragraph # 131 "About general principles of organization of local self-administration in RF and # 52 FZ "About the world of animals" the questions  of protection and rational utilization of the animal world have a direct relationship to the activities of district and village administrations, many districts this year have not even apportioned the means for financing activities relating to the struggle with wolves.

In the words of the wolf hunter Ivan Oyun, he had returned from many of the trips  with a bland feeling - there were no hunters' teams no finances and no hunting equipment. On the day of this conference, Ivan Oyun returned form the Barun-Khemchik district where they expected him and where he just had spent 20 days.

The presentation of the professional wolf hunter  held everybody's interest.

-  The most effective ways of hunting can be hunting for the dens, hunting the females with traps and nooses, and by chase, - shared his experience Oyun. - It is bad that we do not know where the ce3nter of the population is. Now, in winter, we have to find out exactly how many wolves there are. If we have a secure supply of hunting equipment, we can degrade that population of predators, - he summarized.

In Barun-Khemchik district, 100 thousand rubles from the local budget were apportioned to organize the wolf hunts, and provisions, ammunition, ropes, and GPS, were obtained. But, as the head of the district administration Ivan Idam-Syuryun announced, there were no results because of  the lack of experience of the hunters. The situation changed only after the professional wolf-hunter got there and killed 29 wolves. In this district, the republican budget added 100 rubles to the municipal reward for each wolf.

The leader of Tere-Khol district,  Eker-ool Manchyn, who personally participates in the district battue hunts, supported his colleague.  During the winter season (including January of the present year, 13 wolves were killed in the district. 80 thousand rubles were  assigned from the district budget for this goal, 38 thousand were collected by the residents on their own initiative. But the losses from the forest predators was much bigger. In the period from September 2010 through January 2011 the district lost 1 million 300 thousand rubles… for this battle, professionals and good hunting equipment is necessary - snowmobiles, traps, navigators, cutting tools and a good supply of ammunition.

There were hard and concrete remarks by the chairman of the government regarding the presentations by the heads of the nature preserves and areas of nature protection agencies, who were trying to explain why "according to science" they were not supposed to get involved in the matters of living nature.

-  You are not at an ecology forum. We are not talking about protection now, but about that we now have to destroy wolves in the preserves and prote4cted areas.

He also stopped the leader of veterinary service, who offered a proposal to perform rabies vaccinations of wild animals in natural environment, including wolves.

The area of hunting grounds in the republic consists of 16860 thousand hectares. But the users of this area, as shown on the example of the OOO "Kaa-Khemskiy koopzveropromkhoz" (hunting cooperative), which has 1 million 700 hectares of hunting grounds, killed only 4 wolves this January. A proposal was made to regulate the activities of all the users of hunting grounds, to give them plans  and assignments as to hunting the predators, and if they do not fulfill the assignment, their  hunting rights would be revoked.

Specially protected territories take up 8.4% of the entire area of the republic. Commenting on the assertion that "there are fewer and fewer hoofed animals in the forests", one of the conference participants  told the journalists later that people have become the competition for the wolves in the preserves, who have various levels of authority. Poachers of all types and ranks come to Tuva to hunt and fish often precisely in the areas which are off-limits to other general hunters. Significantly, showing on the example of activities of the administration  of Ubsunur preserve, he told to Sholban Kara-ool:

-  The leadership of the preserve is already being watched. They welcome guests, and provide services to anybody who comes to the preserve to hunt.  We will catch them…

Beside proposals about mandatory learning of the rules of wolf-hunting, and including hunters on the staff of district administrations, there were other suggestions, in particular - to look into thepossibility of establishing a program for decrease of tension of the work market, and to make contracts for use of mechanical transport with other owners. The question does not require further discussion - everything has to go into the struggle with the predators.

Galina Murygina, "Tuvinskaya Pravda", translated by Heda Jindrak
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