Wolves hunt in pack of hundreds, killing 30 horses in Verkhoyansk, Russia

Updated: 08 Feb 2011
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Attacks: A hunter holds up the body of a dead wolf after a massive pack of 400 of the animals has terrorised the town of Verkhoyansk in Russia
 
A 'super pack' of wolves has been terrifying a town after leaving more than 30 horses dead in just four days.

Four hundred bloodthirsty wolves have been spotted prowling around the edges of Verkhoyansk, in Russia, attacking livestock at will.

Twenty four teams of hunters have been put together to get rid of the wolves, with a bounty of £210 for every wolf skin brought to officials.

Stepan Rozhin, an administration official for the Verkhoyansk district in Russia, said: 'To protect the town we are creating 24 teams of armed hunters, who will patrol the neighbourhood on snowmobiles and set wolf traps.

'But we need more people. Once the daylight increases, the hunters will start shooting predators from helicopters.'

A pack of wolves this size is unheard of, with the animals usually preferring to hunt in smaller groups of just six or seven.

The massive group is believed to be made from hundreds of packs and has left animal experts baffled.

Dr Valerius Geist, a wildlife behaviour expert, said the harsh Siberian winter - where temperatures plummet to minus 49C - had killed off the animal's usual prey.

He said: 'It is unusual for wolves to gather in such numbers of hunt large animal like horses.

'However, the population of their usual prey, rabbits, has decreased this year due to lack of food, so wolves have had to change their habits.

'Wolves are very careful to choose the most nutritious food source easiest obtained without danger - which in this case happens to be horses.

'They will start tackling dangerous prey when they run out of non-dangerous prey.'

Villagers have already managed to snare a number of the animals but the pack is so sizeable that is likely to take some time to deal with.
 
Verkhoyansk, with a population of just 1,300, is one of the coldest and remotest places in the northern hemisphere and lies within an area known as Stalin's Death Ring, after the former dictator sent political exiles there due to the extreme conditions.
 
Bounty: Twenty four teams of hunters have been employed by authorities to tackle the wolf pack, with officials paying £210 for every one killed
 
Bleak: Temperatures in Verkhoyansk can plummet to -49C and experts said the wolves may have been forced together through a lack of food
 
SOURCE: Daily Mail

 

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