The wolf is a native predator in Hungary, and its resettlement is the result of natural processes. Cooperation between professional hunters and conservationists is essential, and it is also worth being aware of the ways in which livestock farmers can prevent damage from these large carnivores.
Sheep and calves are falling prey, and even a breeding bull worth HUF 1.2 million (€ 3,400) has disappeared. In addition to the perfectly legitimate complaints, it should also be mentioned that since the packs of wolves are not currently under hunting pressure, it is feared
that they may be attacking humans in the future.
In connection with the topic, WWF Hungary responded in writing to 24.hu. Dr László Patkó, a wildlife biologist, the program manager of WWF Hungary Large Carnivores, described the possibility and means of creating peaceful coexistence.
Large carnivore populations are growing across Europe. Species with a large range of motion can easily conquer new habitats where they then settle down. Wolves can also help vegetation regeneration and increase biodiversity indirectly and through their prey, but they can even reduce the number of collisions between vehicles and wild animals.
Packs of wolves have multiplied naturally in Europe, without artificial resettlement. The populations of their primary prey species (e.g. deer, wild boar) are growing across Europe, resulting in an increase in the number and size of wolf packs.
“When someone talks about wolf packs growing as a result of human intervention, they are correct. It is not just a matter of the animals returning as a result of direct help, but that rural human populations have moved to cities, eradication campaigns of historical times have lagged behind as a result of international protection, and populations of game species have strengthened. That much human help is enough for 16,000-17,000 wolves in Europe: there is no need for resettlement,”says László Patkó.
In Hungary, wolves form breeding packs in the Bükk, the Aggtelek karst areas, and the Zemplén Mountains. Their permanent presence and growing stock can be expected in the future as well.
“Great predators commanding respect, like a wolf, can be scary in the eyes of some. But what is scary is not necessarily dangerous.”
In Europe, on average, there is one serious wolf attack per year, while in 2016 alone, dogs killed 45 people. Large carnivores attack humans only in exceptional cases, and these situations can be avoided in all cases.
By taking certain advice, we can also make human-wildlife coexistence more conflict-free. In Hungary, the grey wolf is a highly protected animal: its disturbance, capture or killing can only be allowed for nature conservation reasons or other similarly important public interest matters.
Damage can possibly occur to farmers, and the best solution is for them to try to avoid it. One can do this by contacting the relevant national park directorate and looking for solutions together.
The national park directorates, where possible, help the protection of farmers with costly tools in addition to expert advice.
Injury prevention information is not enough because livestock farmers incur costs by applying prevention methods (such as dog keeping, electric herding, and maintenance). By supporting the purchase of damage prevention tools, coexistence with large carnivores can be improved, and it would also be necessary to be able to compensate farmers for the damage they have suffered, despite the use of damage prevention methods.
The wildlife biologist highlights:
“There are a number of issues about the wolf that need to be worked on with different interest groups. And the goals of seemingly opposing groups are often shared. There is a need for a more transparent support system for livestock keepers based on damage prevention, for hunters to be more involved in monitoring these species, and for damage assessments to be carried out by trained, independent professionals.”
Source: 24.hu; sokszinuvidek.24.hu