Wolf attacks on reindeer have cost the Russian state more than £3m
Wolf attacks on reindeer has cost the Russian state more than £3m (Reuters) Reuters

A state of emergency has been called in a north-eastern state of Russia following a dramatic increase in wolf attacks on livestock in the area.

Specialised hunters will begin a three month operation to cull the number of wolves in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, beginning on 15 January.

Local authorities called a state of emergency after grey wolves killed more than 16,000 domestic reindeer and 300 horses in 2012.

Russia media have quoted experts who believe a shortage of mountain hares have caused the wolves to migrate further in search of food.

These attacks have cost the region as much as 150m roubles (£3m) as each reindeer is worth around 10,000 roubles (£205).

The state of emergency was declared by Sakha President Yegor Borisov, who made the decision after hearing several complaints from residents after he visited various villages in the region.

Borisov has also offered a "six-figure sum" to any hunter who can bring in the most wolf skins.

Currently there is believed to be around 3-4000 wolves in the region. The "war on wolves" declared by Borisov aims to bring the population down to the optimum level of 500.

As of yet there has been no reports of an increase on attacks on humans.

Last year, hunters were called upon to get rid of a 400-strong pack of wolves which killed more than 30 horses in just four days in the the small town of Verkhoyansk.

Hunters killed 730 wolves in the Sakha republic in 2011.