There are more and more wolf sightings in urban areas, with the area of ​​Epanomi in Thessaloniki being put on alert for attacks even on houses, with victims – for now – domestic animals.

The latest incident was recorded on Monday night, when a wolf went as far as to break into a residential yard and attack the owner’s pet dog. Indicative of the “rage” of the wolf, is the fact that to attack the animal it literally dug under the fence and entered through the wires. He managed to injure it, but was pushed back by the owner shortly after, who threw stones at him.

The vice-president of the Epanomi Hunting Association, Giorgos Rigas speaking to ThessToday pointed out that recently the appearance of wolves has increased especially in the area of ​​Epanomi, with many recorded attacks, especially on hounds. “We have reported the problem repeatedly to the relevant Services for some time, but to date no management action has been taken to address it.” And the problem is not only in Epanomi. Three days ago in Vasilika, another wolf managed to kill two hounds, while one more was caught and saved by the hunter”, he said characteristically, with him underlining that “the information we have even from areas in southern Greece, such as Athens , is that there is an increase in the population of wolves, comparable to that of wild boars”.

The scientific answer to the causes of the rapid increase of wolves in urban areas

ThessToday also contacted Alexandros Gassios, a forester specializing in wildlife management, scientific associate of the Macedonian-Thrace Hunting Federation, who said that over the past three years there have been more than 200 documented wolf attacks on hounds, the number estimated that he is actually quite a bit older.

“The appearance of wolves – like all mammals – is a general phenomenon that occurs in Europe, with many causes. The abandonment of mountain agriculture and animal husbandry, combined with the reduction of pesticide activity, have favored populations of small mammals such as rodents in lowland, semi-urban and rural areas. Accordingly, the population of wild boars and roe deer is increasing, with the result that the populations of predators of the above species such as wolves have increased significantly.” According to him, the population of the wolf, like any carnivorous mammal, follows the fluctuations of the population of the species that make up its prey, while he also mentioned that the wolf can travel long distances to locate its food.

“Most animals now find food near humans, as a result of which the appearance of animals that we used to see only in mountainous forest areas, such as the wild boar, the wolf and the bear, are increasing near or even inside cities and villages” he noted and pointed out that “in the past the wolf was treated as a threat mainly to livestock and was repelled by herding dogs or exterminated by humans, causing it to fear humans. Today this is not the case. The wolf has been a protected species for several years, as a result of which it can get closer and closer to humans where it can easily find food, undisturbed and become more and more familiar with the human presence.”

On the outskirts of some settlements, citizens see wolves every day, which, for now, have never attacked a human. According to Mr. Gassios, the jackal is also experiencing a corresponding population increase with the wolf, who mentioned that this species used to be considered rare in Greece, but today it can be found in almost all the lowland and semi-mountainous areas of the country.

ThessToday’s research revealed that recently there was a discussion about the removal of the wolf’s protection status in Europe, at the initiative of Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, who at the beginning of September of this year had declared that “the concentration of wolf packs in some European areas has become a real danger for livestock and possibly for humans. I call on local and national authorities to take action where necessary. Current EU law already allows them to do so…”.

The European Commission then called on the member countries to make use of the exceptions of the European legislation for the management of the wolf population.