The response to open call for data collection on wolf

MTÜ Eesti Suurkiskjad (Estonian Carnivore society)

to European Commission

The response to open call for data collection on wolf

Wolf is not strictly protected species in Estonia: it belongs to Annex V of Habitats directive. 20-40 % of its population is deliberately killed by human every year (example: see figures). There are maximum three wolfpacks living mainly inside protected areas: all protected areas in Estonia are smaller than the territory of a wolf pack. Moreover, there is not a single protection area with purpose to protect the wolf in Estonia (see the picture). Actually, many wolves are killed inside protection areas in Estonia. The ecological situation of wolf in Estonia is thus very poor. According IUCN methodology, the wolf is red listed in Estonia as vulnerable (VU) species. As long as there is no sufficient network of wolf protection areas, lethal methods against wolf are unacceptable.

The population size of wolf (number of wolf packs) is only weakly correlated with the number of sheep killed by wolves (Pearson’s correlation test, r = 0,477; see the graph). Wolves kill annually approximately 0,5–1 % of sheeps in Estonia varying between 500 and 1300 individuals.

There is compensation system in place where almost 100 % of the value of killed domestic animals by wolf is compensated with some very loose preconditions. The compensation sum is approximately 100000 €/year in total, which is about 0,02 % of public costs of agricultural sector in Estonia or 0,06 % of direct payments of CAP to Estonia. While 40 % of CAP money should be used for the good of environment, we are talking about peanuts here.

The preventive methods to keep wolves off from sheep herds are poorly promoted and only locally used. However there is some limited progress over the years.

Recently there is no reported attacks of wolves against human in Estonia, whereas dog attacks on human happen every day and most of them are not reported. The Estonian society is overflown with aggressive dogs and nobody can care less. There is not even official statistics how much there are dogs in Estonia. It seems, that there are double standards for domesticated animals vs wild animals.

Estonia – graphs and maps

Graph 2. The number of wolfpacks (blue line) and killed sheep (red columns) in Estonia. According to the Pearson’s correlation test, the correlation is weak (r=0,477). Source: the management plan of Estonian large carnivores 2022-20312.

Map 1. Protection of wolves in Estonia. According Natura2000 viewer wolf is not protected in a single