Wolves aren’t the bad guys, scientists warn as they urge public to stop demonising them
Scientists are urging people not to “demonise” wolves, as part of longstanding efforts to protect them.
The number of wolves in Poland has grown amid measures to protect them, which have been in place for over 20 years.
Most wolves live in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Since the 2000s, they have been resettling in western Poland, too.
But with their fearsome appearance, powerful jaws and sharp teeth, wolves are often portrayed as villains, especially in fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood.
A new statement by scientists at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) reaffirms the need to protect them, while taking the necessary safety precautions.
Responding to recent coverage about wolves in the Polish media, including calls to shoot them, the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) has urged people to see wolves in the wider natural context.
"Demonising wolves does not protect them and unnecessarily increases the fear of their presence in the environment,” write scientists from the Commission for the Protection and Management of Natural Resources at PAN’s branch in Olsztyn and Białystok, in eastern Poland.
“We must learn to see the important role that these predators play in ecosystems and to resolve conflicts caused by them, which are most often a direct or indirect result of human activities,” they add.
For example, some human behaviour attracts wolves, such as leaving dogs unattended or leaving out food or animal remains.
These types of actions can cause wolves to associate humans with the availability of food and potentially lead to dangerous situations, they warn.
Yet for the scientists, shooting wolves is not the solution: “The size of the damage caused by wolves in Poland does not entitle to drastic changes in the management of its population, and at the same time the possible shooting of the predators is not an effective tool that can have a significant impact on reducing the level of damage”.
To read more about wolves in Poland click here.