SudetWolves are both mythical beasts and part of their ecosystem. The problem is that many people keep mistaking these two meanings of the word. A wolf is the mythical beast, wich symbolises for savagery, never ending hunger and ruthles violence, but also endurance and brotherhood. In real life the biological creature is an efficient hunter, a pack animal and a social sentient being, but also a scavenger and a powerfull carnivoire. When people are discussing wolves most arguments seem to come from emotional images, that have nothing to do about researched knowledge about the actual animals. We are talking in terms of pure fantasy, and the mythical beast is on trial instead the actual animal, wich in the end will suffer the consiquenses. But wolves are not big furry dogs, like some people would see them. Neither are they werewolves or such.

Of lately in Finland, a lot of talk about wolves has been all over the media. Concerned parents are complaining about the safety of their children because wolves have been seen in areas, where they have not been seen in decades. These wolves have killed a score of sheep. It is the result of the enveriomental law, that states all “grand beasts” such as the wolf, the bear, the lynx and the wolverine as endangered and protected animals. The law states that a licensed hunter may only kill one of these beasts with the special permit  from government.

At first there were complaints from dog owners along the finnish eastern border, how their pets had been taken by wolves from the dogs cords on the yard. Slowly along the years we have had similar reports from all over Finland.

To put things in perspective, the wolves have not killed anyone in well over a hundred years. Of course there has not been many wolves during that time close to where people live. How ever, I am having problems understanding these hysterical  people, who are demanding permission to kill more wolves. Their logic completely evades me.

We finns shoot hundreds of moose along the year. The moose has no natural enemies because the low quota of wolves and bear. So there are lot of moose in finnish forests. The moose are part of dozens of traffic accident deaths in a year. Domestic animals are far more dangerous, than the wolf. Horses have been involved in 25 cases of death during the last 10 years. During the same period of time dogs have killed 10 people. Not to talk about both injuries and economical damage loose dogs have caused. But the moose and the loose dogs are a threat people have come to accept as tragic, but never the less unavoidable harms. The horse related deaths are also something, wich needs not to be tampered, because it is a problem of a minority of people, who are knowingly taking the risk. Wolf seems to be a completely a nother matter…

If you are a parent, maybe you should be more concerned about the safety of your children. The likelyhood of such a small child, that a wolf might dare to attack him/her, in comparison to being attacked by two legged beasts, if they are walking on their own to school, is by far more greater than by actual wolves.

If you keep sheep, are wolves not a natural threat to your economy? Are wolves not a natural threat to most shepherds around the world? Why should a finnish sheep owner be free of this rather obvious threat, when it is natural in all the rest of the world? There are means to protect your sheep, you know. Shepherds and big dogs are the most traditional ways of protecting sheep. Modern ways are fences and such.

The reindeer owners are complaining about all the “great beasts”. They sell the most expensive meat, but might kill a wolverine by driving the animal into exhaustion with snowmobiles. They even kill eagles, because these birds occasionally attack infant reindeer. Actually they get a government payment for every reindeer killed by the beasts. This is actually more reliable income than the reindeer meat, especially now that the reindeer meat is not selling wery well. All the while reindeer is “responsible” (as part of traffic accidents) for more human deaths than any of the beasts.

Most people who are affraid of wolves do not know anything about them, and that is what causes the fear. It is the fear of unknown. The fairytale image is something one learns as a child, and it is hard to see things in a new way, when your mind is set to a sertain truth. Most people who would want to shoot a wolf, would want to do so just to satisfy their ego. To see them selves and for other people also to see them as great daring hunters. As if there would be something especially daring about shooting an animal that really fears humans with a scoped rifle. It is just as childish way to bolster ones manhood as buying a big and fast car. It only reveals how small your dick is.

There are 100-200 wolves in Finland. In comparison we have over 1000 bears. The bears sometimes attack, maim and even kill people, but you do not hear the same tones of voices when they are discussed as you hear when people are demanding wolves to be shot. No, bear is also a mythical beast, and to us finns wery important. The ancestor of all Fenno Ugrian people he is, but only few people seem to know this anyway. I think he is not as hated as the wolf mainly because of his teddybear image. Maybe one should start to make cuddly wolf dolls to improve the wolf image, but would that be honest, or just a way of creating a new mythical image among the allready existign ones?

Wolves live in packs that are formed around a core family of two parents and their offspring. It takes 6 years for a wolf to reach maturity. When they finally are sexually fully developed they leave the family/pack to seek a mate. A wolf pack is able to kill big game like the moose, but a lone wolf often has to travel long distances to reach an area, wich is not the territory of an existing pack. Most lone wolves never make it. They are often starving during winter time when it is harder for them to find any prey, and during that period they are especially dangerous to smaller farm animals. When their natural fear of human is somewhat lessened by the hunger. Also when the wolves have cubs, they are likely to attack sheep and such because the growing cubs need a lot of food and if the pack is new, without any earlier year cubs or “uncless and aunties” the two adult wolves have to provide for the whole lot. So, new packs are more harmfull to humans than older existing ones and lone wolves are the most hazardous ones.

Wolves are no doubt a problem to sheep and reindeer owners, but as long as they are only an economical problem, that the government is covering, they should not be persecuted.

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