Officials in Russia are making plans to start wolf-hunting trips for wealthy foreigners because a local authority cannot afford to pay for a cull of the animals itself.
The animals would be shot from a helicopter, with each “trophy” costing $15,000.
According to reports, the sport would plug a gap facing cash-strapped Yakutia, the country’s largest and coldest region in eastern Siberia.
The wolves are thought to kill more than 9,000 reindeer and about 500 horses each year, costing the nomadic famers who live in the region about $2.5 million.
It is hoped that rich Chinese tourists in particular will want to hover over the wolf packs and take pot shots from the safety of their chartered helicopter.
They would then be allowed to keep the pelts of wolves they slaughter, according to the plan. The $15,000 bill would cover the cost of each animal plus transportation, accommodation and food.
The scheme is the brainchild of local MP Viktor Fedorov who said 400 wolves a year out of the region’s population of 12,000 could be shot by tourist hunters.
He told the Siberian Times: “We already have tourists, local and some from abroad, who are willing to pay $10,000 for hunting one wolf. This is like shooting sparrows from a cannon.”
He added that his scheme would “put an end to the wolf problem.”
But the hunting trips, which are under active consideration in Yakutia and would probably require a law change, would not be without strings: anyone who shot an animal other than a wolf would have to pay a $20,000 fine.