Hunters worried about animals getting caught in temporary border fence

Roe deer.
Roe deer. Source: Semilarski

Võru County hunters are worried about animals hurting themselves on the razor wire fence installed on the eastern border during a recent Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) exercise when moving around or during hunts.

Chairman of the board of the Võru County Hunters' Society Mati Kivistik said that animals do not know how to avoid the temporary border fence's razor wire, especially when tall grass starts growing through it.

"Some animals are definitely not capable of getting through. They will get stuck and suffer pretty serious lacerations, and if we think about modern hunting – especially the use of dogs, which is the only way to hunt wild board, we can presume that dogs will follow game into the wire," Kivistik said.

Razor wire is life-threatening not only for wild animals and hunting dogs but also border guard K9 units. An incident occurred this week where a service dog hurt its paws running into razor wire during an operation to apprehend persons who had crossed the border illegally.

Zoologist Nikolai Laanetu said that wild animals do not perceive the danger and get stuck in the wire when escaping. "It is clear that roe deer, wolf, raccoon dog, fox, wild board and to a lesser degree elk numbers will dwindle in the border fence area. They simply have to fall back, whereas it is to be expected that they will run headlong into the wire when hunted."

Laanetu said that a bear becoming entangled and proceeding to tear down razor wire cannot be ruled out. "Bears tend to get notoriously ferocious when hurt," the zoologist noted.

Vaiko Vaher, head of operations for the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), said that the authorities are looking for a solution for making the temporary barricade safer for wild animals.

"We are in talks with the Environmental Board to find a solution for flagging this temporary obstacle. What is more, the barricade is not constant, meaning there are holes where wild animals can pass through," Vaher said.

"The only solution is developing permanent border infrastructure that considers animal access, and the sooner it is completed, the better it will be for everyone," Mati Kivistik said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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