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The Siberian Times

Let rich tourists hunt wolves by helicopter to solve Siberia's wolf epidemic

By Kate Baklitskaya
08 March 2017

Foreigners should be invited to pay $10,000 per animal in novel way to fund cull needed to save reindeer and horses.

 The cost would be $10,000 for each wolf, plus $5,100 for helicopter transport, accommodation and food. Picture: Denis Adamov

Wealthy Russian and foreign tourists should be offered helicopter hunting trips to shoot wolves in Yakutia, where they are causing a growing threat to livestock. 

The region's 12,000 wolves are costing $2.5 million a year in damage to reindeer and horse herds. Wolves killed more than 9,000 reindeer and 500-plus horses, it is reported. Measures taken by the authorities to cull the rapidly rising wolf population are seen as ineffective.

Now local deputy Viktor Fedorov has suggested the region - also known as Sakha Republic - offering elite hunting opportunities to tourists as a means of rapidly reducing numbers without putting a strain on the budget. The cost would be $10,000 for each wolf, plus $5,100 for helicopter transport, accommodation and food. 

'In this way we could reduce the number of wolves and earn money for it,' he said. 'At the same time we could monitor the deer herds from above.'


Local deputy Viktor Fedorov has suggested Sakha Republic offering elite hunting opportunities to tourists. Picture: Il Tumen

He said: 'We already have the tourists, local and some from abroad, who are willing to pay $10,000 for hunting one wolf. I searched for the prices on trophy hunting in South Africa. Hunting an adult lion costs $30,000, therefore, so $10,000 for a wolf is quite an acceptable price. 

'Chinese tourists fly to Canada and Alaska for hunting, which is more expensive. Harbin (China) is close to us, so I came up with the idea of commercialising the project.'

Fedorov said that it costs the regional government around $3,400 to cull a single wolf, while foreign tourists are ready to pay $10,000, making the scheme profitable to the Yakutians. 

'The cost of accommodation, transportation and food would be another 300,000 rubles ($5,100). 

hunter with wolf

hunter with wolves

hunter killed giant wolf

Yakut hunters with their hunting trophies. Pictures: Denis Adamov,,

'We have a limit of 800 wolves to be killed a year. 400 wolves could be (killed by) commercial activity. In that way environmental department would earn 120 million roubles ($2.06 million). And the hunting department would not need to shoot wolves - and will only fight against poaching.'

He spoke out against using poison as an alternative way of killing wolves, arguing it could kill other animals such as foxes, badgers and dogs. 

'So we are left with hunting from the air and the land,' he said. 'Hunting from the air is the most effective in my opinion. We used Mi-2 and Mi-8 helicopters. 

'The cost of flying hours of Mi-8 is 200,000 to 300,000 thousand rubles per hour ($3,400-$5,160). And flying a small helicopter Mi-2 is about 70,000 to 80,000 ($1,200 - $1,375). 

'As I understand, the Mi-8 was used this year for only four hours. What can you do in four hours? This is like shooting sparrows from a cannon.'


Helicopter Rotorway A-600. Picture:

He proposed: 'You don't need a big helicopter for hunting. A wolf weighs about 50 kg, you kill him, take him on board and off you go. There is, for example, a helicopter Rotorway A-600 which costs $98,000... It takes two people on board, flies for 300 km, at 160 kph.

'We can buy three helicopters like that with a 20 million rouble ($345,000) budget and put an end to the wolf problem. The state provides the infrastructure, and we use it for tourism. 

'I'm sure we'll find enough tourists in Heilongjiang province alone. There are 120 million people in the province, and I'm sure I'll find 400 hunters. In addition, our local hunters are quite wealthy.'He said the law may need to be changed to allow the scheme to work. 

'The whole world operates like this: you can hunt lions, rhinos. You just come to Africa and hunt the animal. And I'm sitting in Yakutsk and cant get a licence to hunt an elk. Can you imagine this? It's easier for me to go to Africa and get a license there.'

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Measures taken by the authorities to cull the rapidly rising wolf population are seen as ineffective. Pictures: Victor Everstov

He was asked about safeguards so that other animals are not shot by trigger-happy tourists. 

'Firstly, the pilot will be an employee of the nature reserve. Secondly, we will put in cameras, and we'll watch what animal was shot. If some other animal was shot, we are sorry, but you have to pay a $20,000  fine - and face a ban from returning here to hunt.'

The tourist would be allowed to keep the skin of the wolf. The aim should not be to wipe out the wolf population. 'If the number of animals falls dramatically, the wolves allowed to be killed should be reduced as well.'

Yakutia has around 12,000 of an estimated 50,000 in Russia. 

Comments (13)

Don’t put t filthy hands on Wolves! You are Murderers!
Elise oz, United States
29/07/2022 11:13
The wolves aren’t the problem.
People who don’t use non lethal methods
to protect their livestock are.
And trophy hunters should find another hobby.
Who enjoys killing another living creature?!
Wolves are sentient beings and wouldn’t hurt us.
Wolves are intelligent too.
And wolves play a vital role in keeping nature healthy.
Less diseases etcetera.
Stop exploiting nature and start respecting it.
Maybe the covid pandemic changed your minds now....
Chris , Nederland
02/05/2021 00:17
I didn’t even read the article but if there are too many
wolves in Siberia one reason for it could be the
absence of the Siberian tiger.Where they occur fewer
wolves are present.Nature manages itself for a long time.
People disrupt the balance.
Siberian tigers were almost wiped out.
And by the way;Trophy hunters are sick.
Chris, Numansdorp
01/05/2021 23:30
Trophy hunting is despicable. I can't understand people who enjoy killing, which is all trophy hunting is.
Tricia, Washington, USA
13/03/2017 11:33
Why on earth would Russia want to be viewed as primitive and savage? I grew up in Canada and have lived in the United States for over 20 years and trophy hunting, both the "suppliers" and the hunters are the scourge of every culture. Please don't make that mistake in Russia. Please study your eco-systems and really investigate what is actually happening. Parts of Russia have so many reindeer the tundra is being negatively impacted for example and in other areas, the reindeer are being brutally slaughtered by poachers not wolves.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
11/03/2017 06:55
In Minnesota, if you can prove loss of livestock to our wolves, the state will pay you for the loss. The state buys wolf feed from you, in effect. Apparently no premium for a prized breeding animal.
The African model is a good one for the hunted species. Hunters actually are why there are still the charismatic game animals living in Africa today. For example, a single elephant trophy fee pays for a very large conservation and anti-poaching effort, and the fees are the raison d'etre for the game reserves. Moreover, the meat feeds a village. Free, not bought as bush meat on the illicit market.
The wolves pictured in the story seem to me to be absolutely prime, perhaps the best in the world. My opinion, but easily compared. My opinion in addition is that you will find more hunters who will set-up over bait, or call wolves, or dog them, or still hunt cutting fresh tracks, for less money than the helicopter-- as exciting as that would be for the very richest-- and the increased number of hunters even at the reduced license will increase revenues.
Grant Bratrud, Muskeg Bay, Minnesota, USA
10/03/2017 09:28
True Sportsman and a better busness plan with more hunters about 5 k would be nore in line and more busnesses would prosper in the region. Make it a Fair Chase Hunt and maye use the copters for remote extraction but knot the hunt. For Hogs yes as they are a plague but the Wolf should be a revered trophy privledge in this day and age. Dont expect to many politicians though especially from California as I suspect they are crying just reading about it.

Run it like a Western Lion Hunt for hughe success !
Bill The Lion Hunter, Page America
10/03/2017 04:04
There is NEVER a good reason to KILL our Wolves! You should RELOCATE them! You should be using MODERN FORMS of RANCHING! Making money off of KILLING our Wildlife is just MORALLY WRONG! Trohy Hunting and Canned Hunting is wrong!
10/03/2017 01:01
Yeah I don't know about American or Chinese but I think most European hunter would find shooting wolves from an helicopter quite vulgar. It would really be considered quite degenerate.
If they say killing a wolf the ordinary way costs $3400, killing 400 would be only little more 1.3 million. It is not an incredible amount and I'm sure a lot more than that is wasted on useless things and least it would support local people.
Johannes, Germany
09/03/2017 23:50
can it get more primitive Mr. local Deputy?
rather pay the local hunters a decent head bounty, so they can earn some money and make good use with it. THAY are the ones who got hurt in the first place. THAY know the places were the wolves are. and if the tourists you want are coming, let them come on foot into the Tundra and Taiga. and show what they have. not shooting from a warm helicopter with a high powered rifle. and maybe YOU would be the first out there on foot? or are you afraid to get out from your warm and cosy office? show that you are a MAN and have some cojones still left!!!!!!!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
09/03/2017 22:08
Tourists shooting wolves from helicopter really sounds like a vulgar enjoyment for some deprived Texas-style americans, in the same division as the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil the lion in Zimbabve. Let´s put some Youtube videos up from the wolf.hunting in Siberia,exposing some rich american tourists take the slap, like the dentist when his Lion-hunt in Zimbabve got viral in front of furious wiewers all over the net.
Hans, Ostersund, Sweden
09/03/2017 21:02
The wolves of Texas was exterminated by the men.!!.! ...Take the Siberia' wolves and brought it to Texas to balance the Ferral Hogs population ....
Jocelyne, FRANCE
08/03/2017 20:32
Sounds like some real fun shooting action. Here in Texas we are having big problems with Ferral Hogs.
(They are Pigs that have got away and now living in the wild). Eating and destroying farms and crops.
There is Helicopter Hunting to remove them here also.
Lots of hot shooting excitement. Maybe soon the Wolf Hunting can be on YouTube also.
Enjoy this video.
Darwin, USA
08/03/2017 20:03

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