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ROU: Wolf Pack Caught on Camera in Romania

Rare footage of a wolf pack has been caught on camera by surveillance equipment of Romania’s forest administration in a national park in the Carpathians.

Ana Maria Luca, BIRN, Bucharest

Romania’s forest administration on Tuesday released rare footage of a wolf pack caught by a surveillance camera in the Piatra Craiului National Park in the Southern Carpathians.

Wolves were almost driven to extinction in most of Central and Western Europe due to extensive hunting in the 19th century, but populations have increased in the past decade thanks to better protection and rural depopulation.

In the 1990s, wolves returned to both France and Germany while lone wolves have been spotted even in densely populated Belgium, Holland and Denmark.

The increase in the wolf population has even become worrying for farmers, with many politicians rallying to defend the rights of farmers and shepherds and lobbying for the European Union to soften bans on killing them.

According to official estimates, Romania probably has the largest wolf population in Europe, outside Russia, with an estimated 5,800 wolves. However, according to World Wildlife Fund, the actual number could be much smaller, as low as 2,300 to 2,700 in 2016.

Romanian law only allows hunting of large carnivores with special permission from the Ministry of Environment and only in cases when the animal proves dangerous.