By Edward Hribovoda (Slovyansk, Ukraine) May 2019
“A wolf is not an animal that lives in hatred, nor is it a talisman for worship, it is neither dangerous nor cute. It’s just one of the many kinds of animals that are being persecuted by man and that needs a place to live. ” – David Mech
In the territory of Ukraine, the Gray Wolf (Canis Lupus) lives almost everywhere. In Polesia, these are Volyn, Rovno, Zhytomyr regions, as well as the north of Kiev and Chernihiv regions, in the Carpathians and the adjacent areas – Transcarpathian, Chernivtsi, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk. Also a few populations in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. A separate, difficultly regulated group for statistics in the Chernobyl zone.
The wolf in Ukraine outside the law. In violation of the Berne Convention, it is destroyed in all possible ways, at any time of the year. The mass extermination of wolves grossly violates the EU Settlement Directive protecting this animal. Ukraine is the only country in Europe where the wolf is declared a “harmful” animal (Article 33 of the Law “On Hunting Economy and Hunting”). In neighboring Poland, the wolf is listed in the Red Book.
According to official data, currently in Ukraine there are 2500-2700 wolves. And out of this number, about 1200-1300 individuals become trophies. If you have to pay for a license to shoot an elk or a boar, then the so-called permission for a sanitary shooting of a wolf is issued in Ukraine for free. Although attempts to obtain the status of “hunting species” for wolves, with the possibility of hunting only in season and in limited quantities, are still being conducted. However, so far to no avail. Because uncontrolled hunting is a great business. At a time when hunting is limited or completely prohibited in Europe or even Belarus, fans of shooting go to Ukraine and pay good money for it. Special companies offer these types of hunting in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and other areas. Of course, if licensed hunting will continue for up to five months a year, such farms will suffer losses. Of course, not adopting the necessary laws is lobbied by the legislators, especially since there are also a lot of fans of such hunting in their ranks.
Of the 73 species of mammals that live in the Chernobyl zone, the wolf occupies a special position. It is a large, intelligent predator with a good social organization and ability to adapt. In various documents is called the number of individuals in the territory of the exclusion zone in 300-400 individuals. However, environmentalists argue that this number is greatly overestimated in order to create the appearance of a threat and the need to shoot. In fact, the wolf is a normal and necessary element of the ecosystem of the Zone. There is no particular uniqueness or adaptive differences in the Chernobyl wolves. If you do not take into account the fact that due to the unpopularity of the territories there is a daily shift in activity. As for conflicts or direct attacks on a person, such cases are close to zero.
In conclusion, must say that through the efforts of environmentalists and the constant pressure of activists of the Kiev Ecological and Cultural Center, an agreement was established with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Ukraine on the illegality of the destruction of pregnant wolves and little wolves in Ukraine. Work is underway with the requirement that the wolf be added to the Red Book.