Wild Wolf Menace in North Khorasan Villages

Wild Wolf Menace in North Khorasan VillagesWild Wolf Menace in North Khorasan Villages

The increasing animal attacks on people and livestock is the result of the consecutive years of drought in the province and across the country, said Hamidreza Salehi, head of the Technical Work Group for Environmental Hazards in Northern Khorasan Province.  

In recent years, several instances of attacks by wolves, jackals and foxes on humans and animals have been reported. In several cases, the wild animals were said to be infected with the rabies disease.

Wild animals as a rule don’t have the natural tendency to enter human settlements; and their foray into rural villages is due to the animals’ deprivation of their primary food source as a result of continuous drought, IRNA reported.

Herbivores abandon their habitat due to the lack of forage; therefore carnivorous animals also don’t get their sources of food and move closer to human communities in search of food. In addition to droughts, urban and road development works can also lead to unpredictable animal attacks, he added.

 Dangerous Breed

When wolves hang around human-inhabited areas, they mate with domestic dogs, generating a new hybrid species of ‘wolf-dog ‘ which is very dangerous.

“The new species doesn’t fear man like domestic dogs, and also are ferocious like wolves,” Salehi said.

The drought phenomenon can lead to many unsavory consequences.

“Unfortunately, livestock and agricultural products are only insured against flood, earthquake and electrocution. They are not insured against wild animals while this seems to be a necessity now in the face of the wild animal attacks,” he added.

Wolves have also attacked other villages, including in the western part of Isfahan Province.

 Not Effective

Meanwhile, environmentalists and scientists say contrary to what many people think, killing wolves does not always reduce attacks on livestock.

Researchers at Washington State University found that for every wolf killed in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming over the past 25 years, there was a 5 percent increase in the sheep and cattle killed the next year. Livestock kills only started going down after overall wolf numbers were reduced by more than 25 percent. The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

The reason appears to be that killing the alpha male or female, which normally keep a tight leash on other members of the pack, frees the other wolves to start breeding. That produces more breeding pairs. And breeding pairs trying to feed pups are more likely to kill livestock than individual wolves, said lead author Rob Wielgus, professor of wildlife ecology and director of the university’s Large Carnivore Conservation Lab.