This year's wolf cull quota has been set at 144 nationwide following a growth in attacks on livestock, regional daily Lõuna Postimees reports, though its own region only accounts for less than 40 of this total.
The culling season began on November 1, though the relevant authority, the Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet), was somewhat late with establishing a quota this year.
The season runs to February, while the board's Deputy Director General Leelo Kukk gave the authority's rationale on the quota as: "The hunting volume approved by the Environmental Board is higher than last year, as the number of wolves exceeds the range agreed upon in the large carnivore management plan.
According to the board's assessment, the existence of 34 wolf cub litters nationwide was confirmed as of the end of October, whereas the plan allows for 20-30 litters, in order to avoid significant damage to livestock which, Kukk said, figures show have been happening.
Kukk said that the issue of growing numbers in wolf populations in Latvia and Lithuania had been identified also, as well as in some other European countries; the board says 301 wolf attacks on livestock and domestic animals have been registered this year, over half of them in Rapla, Harju, Viljandi and Pärnu counties alone, while 1,110 sheep had been slaughtered by wolves this year as at the start of culling season in Estonia, compared with 748 for the whole of 2022.
A particularly horrific attack at a farm in Tartu County last weekend saw an entire breeding flock of over a dozen ewes as well as the accompanying ram killed by wolves.
Editor: Andrew Whyte