Hunters have killed 583 wolves in the Sakha republic since the beginning of the year, more than twice the number killed in the same period last year, regional agriculture officials said Tuesday.
Agriculture officials told RIA-Novosti that the increase in wolf hunting was motivated by the need to prevent the predatory beasts from killing local animals. Since January, wolves have killed over 2,600 reindeer and 167 horses, significantly more than a last year.
In January, Yegor Borisov, the republic's head, mulled declaring a state of emergency over the influx of wolves, but in the end he opted for a three-month hunt to reduce the wolves' population.
According to agriculture officials, 620 hunters organized into 188 hunting teams have so far killed 583 wolves during the three-month hunting campaign. The republic's budget allocated 32 million rubles ($1 million) for wolf hunting in 2013, the ministry said.
Hunters are entitled to receive 20,000 rubles for each wolf hide presented to authorities.
In 2012, wolves killed 16,000 reindeer and 313 horses in the republic, the news agency said.