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Russian Town and Army of 400 Wolves Declare War

By Chris Capps    2/8/11

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A single pack of wolves traditionally consists of somewhere around 6 to 11 wolves with some packs ranging upward of 30 wolves or more in some circumstances.  But an unprecedented massive pack of wolves boasting 400 hunters has been discovered just outside the Russian small town of Verkhoyansk which has the people living in fear.  The creatures killed the least dangerous and most abundant prey, then moved on to the next most vulnerable animal, horses.  But what's next on the list?  Townspeople aren't waiting to find out and have declared war on this ecological mystery.

The townspeople are assembled into groups of hunters that scour the area around their town collecting bounties on each wolf killed.  And if the response seems extreme, Verkhoyansk is geographically isolated enough that those in the city will have to take care of themselves or be completely crowded out and overwhelmed by the starving predators.  But will they be able to fight off the wolves that killed 30 horses in one day last week?  Or will they be run out of town?

There are few places on Earth where the conflict between humans and nature still looks like a battlefield.  In 11th century England wolves would take to the streets sometimes running through the city from nearby forests and often even attack people.  Eventually wolves became less of a threat due to several factors, but even in the bad times the creatures only attacked humans in extreme circumstances.  But if circumstances became extreme often enough, the village would decide the wolves in the area warranted a big enough threat and began fighting back.  But this time the epic battle between humans and wolves has reached a new level as over 400 wolves surround Verkhoyansk running wild in the streets and howling in the distance in between raids on the town's livestock.  With the loss of the livestock, many are fearing the wolves will turn desperate and start considering the humans their final source for food.

With limited resources the skirmishes are proving to be intense with the town turning to wolf hunting mercenaries to solve the problem offering the US equivalent of almost $300 for each confirmed wolf killed.

But what drew the wolves together in the first place?  Experts suggest it might have been a combination of things, but could have been as simple as a cascading scenario of events involving food shortages pushing smaller packs together and then those medium sized packs beginning to travel together until finally a massive wolf pack just overwhelmed the region eating everything in its path.

Russia is no stranger to wolf related problems.  In 2010 video of a Russian police officer pulling over a car on the M23 surfaced that had the officer scrambling to get into the car quickly as over a dozen wolves appeared and boldly charged past them.  The incident was recorded on film and went viral shortly thereafter.


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