The number of wolves has considerably grown by this winter in the Novgorod region (Russia's north-west).
Hunting experts fixed large packs up to ten wolves by traces on the first snow, the regional department for control, regulation and protection of hunted animals said on Thursday.
According to the experts, the abundance of potential victims of wolves contributed to their reproduction. The livestock of wild boars increased in 2002. In addition, Novgorod beavers fell an easy prey of wolves because of the summer drought. Beavers vainly tried to hide from predators in the beds of drying rivers and streams.
According to Anatoly Pavlov, the deputy head of the department, "the situation is under control of the hunting department of the Novgorod region". Hunters keep shooting the dangerous beasts.
The regional administration gives bonuses to the best wolf hunters, the hunting department said.
A hunter is paid 700 roubles for an adult wolf, 500 roubles for a wolf cub and 1,000 roubles for a she-wolf (1 euro is equal to 31.85 roubles).
Wolf hunters also receive licenses to hunt hoofed animals.
All in all, Novgorod hunters killed 40 wolves in 2001, reducing the population to 270 individuals.
Hunting experts believe that 50-60 wolves would be sufficient for the Novgorod region. This number would guarantee the preservation of the species and would not threaten people and other animals.