Wolves sending a message again2016-05-25
Lately, just as every year around this time, wolves make themselves known again; they have turned on livestock, causing severe damage to farmers. Since wolves are classified as protected species in Lithuania and elsewhere across the EU, the damage shall be reimbursed.
Damage caused by wolves is usually reimbursed by respective municipality in accordance with the procedure under the Law on Special Programme on Support of Municipal Environmental Protection. The farmers are required to report any damage to their local eldership within 3 business days and seek for its assessment and reimbursement. Having received such a report, an elder shall inform the user of hunting grounds immediately and within 7 days arrange for assessment of damage (except where more time is required for damage assessment purposes). Damage shall be assessed by a special commission formed by the director of municipal administration for assessment of damage in accordance with the methodology on assessment of damage caused by the game to agricultural crops, livestock, and forest.
The Ministry of Environment takes this opportunity to remind the municipalities that in exceptional cases, where the damage caused by wolves proves excessive, they may apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for issue of a special permit to hunt down these animals even before the open season begins where necessary. In accordance with the hunting rules in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, open season for wolves starts on October 15 and ends on April 1.
The damage caused by wolves could be reduced significantly, if all the farmers sought proper protection of their livestock. The environmentalists are convinced that an unguarded sheep can fall easy prey to wolves. Both sheep and calves should be taken to cowsheds by night, while livestock should be taken to safe enclosure. Once special fences, electric shepherds, and alarm systems are introduced, the hazard would be mitigated significantly. These measures are common in France, Slovakia, Poland, and elsewhere across Europe.