Wolves Habituated to Human Environment. Does It Lead To Attacks?

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A short time ago, Wolf Education International (WEI) staff posted a link to an article that asked the question, “Should Finland’s Wolves be Hunted or Protected?” As is always the hope and intent of WEI it began a conversation with others and the result is more commentary and links provided. Below is a summary, as best as we can do, that we hope readers will be able to sift through and glean quality information.

In reference to the article linked to above, a member of our WEI staff, residing in Finland, made the following comment:

Yes it’s a good article. I have met some of the people mentioned in the article and I am fully aware of their situation. The rural population [of wolves] in Finland is scattered around the woods in small villages or houses far from cities and business centers. There are no borders or fences separating the wilderness from human settlements thus a house or a village may be a part of a wolf pack’s territory. The wolves (or whatever they are) [the existence of hybrid or crossbred wild canines] get habituated to humans which, in turn, results in a growing number of attacks against cattle and sheep under the cover of darkness as well during dawn, dusk, and night. The appearance of wolves in settled areas in broad daylight seems to be more and more the rule rather than the exception.

Wolves appear on school yards in the middle of the day and their behavior reminds me more and more about the coyotes in US. As wolves’ prey escape into villages the wolves start killing moose and deer in the middle of the villages leaving the carcass on, for instance, the school yards. Just imagine the parent’s fear when the(y) leave for their work at 6 am in the morning and the children have to walk alone through the woods to a bus stop knowing a wolf pack is somewhere within 500 meters from the house. Some communities offer transport services, others don’t. 
 
The situation gets worse all the time and history tells us the cold truth. Sooner or later there will be an attack and the victim will be a child from 6 to 10 years. The first attack will be considered an “unfortunate accident” caused by the parents as they did not watch their children. Nobody reacts until we have 2 – 3 dead or wounded children. 
 
Our “Fish & Game” ensures us that the wolves won’t pose any risks to humans as there hasn’t been any attacks on humans after 1880’s – there hasn’t been wolves habituated to humans either. They also claim that the Finnish wolf population is somewhere between 120 and 150 wolves. 
 
Fish & Game have a database where they record every reported wolf observation including distance to the nearest house. The attached picture shows the wolf population (grey) and the number of reported observations (blue) on house yards during 2016. Either there is a huge change in habituation to humans or a growth of our wolf population. I believe in the latter.
In addition to this information, another contributor to WEI provided us with several links to recent wolf attacks along with the country where each attack took place. I have included them below, listed by country.
(Note – Some of these stories have previously been published on WEI)
France – One event here, another here.
U.S.A. (Oregon)
U.S.A. (Minnesota)
Europe/Asia – Video