Why are People Afraid of Wolves?


What have wolves ever done to people? Why does a big part of the population hate the wolves so much?

I will always remember a special day when I was 21 years old.

I yawned when I opened the door and felt the chilly air against my face. It was quite dark, only the streetlight showed the way to the barn. Then I saw someone in the dark and I blinked. If I had been a cartoon figure a big question mark would have appeared above my head, because who on earth was out here walking about at five o’clock in the morning! As I walked down from our porch I smelled pipe tobacco and then I realized it was our closest neighbor. Still, I thought it was peculiar for him being out that time.

“I couldn’t sleep, that’s why I’m up so early.” A wide grin spread across his face. “I looked out through the kitchen window and then I saw a wolf” he exclaimed enthusiastically. “I could see it clearly under the streetlight, a big, grey, shaggy creature with a long tail. It went towards your house, I thought about calling you guys but I didn’t want to wake you up.”

“Oh, you should have.” I was so excited. “We wouldn’t have minded at all!”

snow wolf
Snow Wolf, thanks to Wolf Lover

Then he pointed out the wolf tracks for me, and the blood rushed through my veins! My heart started pounding! I couldn’t stop smiling when I looked at the big paw prints in the snow.

I hurried to the barn to do my chores and tell my family all about it! Then my little sister and I pointed out the wolf tracks to our dogs who stuck their noses deep down in the tracks so they got covered by snow. We followed the wolf’s tracks around our house. Can you imagine! I was sleeping while a wolf passed outside my bedroom window! Oh, how I wish that I could have seen that! There were also tracks outside our barn and then it had gone back to the forest.

That morning I skipped breakfast because I was eager to follow the wolf tracks. The snow was deep so I wore snowshoes. I don’t think that I have ever smiled as widely as I did then! It was exciting walking in the forest where the wolf recently had been. Fancy that, I touched the same branches as the wolf had done. I was way beyond happy!

But of course my happiness was dashed. For those who don’t know, I might mention that news travels fast in a little village! In the middle of the day people started gathering outside our house in order to look at the wolf tracks. A journalist even called our mother. I got mad at the people! They complained that I had let our dogs sniff in the tracks. They said that I should keep the dogs away from it so everyone could take a look. It made me furious hearing that! Nobody stopped them from going to look at the tracks in the forest.

It seems to me that people get hysterical when they hear the word wolf. They wanted to see the tracks but grown men didn’t dare to follow them into the forest! Many of those who came to our home that day were hunters. I guess hunters only feel safe when they can hide behind a rifle. Maybe that’s why people hate wolves, they fear them.

But why are people afraid of wolves? The wolves have a great sense of hearing so they will be long gone before you will be able to see them. And yet, people hate them. It’s strange because people have no problem walking around in towns and there you run the risk that you will end up raped or killed, yet, people are afraid to walk in the forest. People fear wolves and almost every day you hear on the news that people have killed or beaten each other.

The reason why wolves are on my mind nowadays is because it has recently been on the news regarding the license hunt on wolves here in Sweden. I was relieved when I heard that there won’t be any hunt this winter, but later I found out that the government would make it easier to give permission to shoot certain wolves that people think causing them trouble so wolves will be killed anyway. I can’t understand why people want to shoot such beautiful creatures and why the government allows it!

The only reason why there won’t be any wolf hunt this winter is because the Swedish government is afraid of the EU court. When the government allowed the license hunt in 2010 Sweden got reported to the EU. The hunt that took place then was barbaric! In fact that event makes me ashamed of being a Swedish. Over 10 000 hunters tracked down the wolves on January 2nd, using vehicles, and shot 28 adult wolves and puppies although the wolves are included in the Bern convention and there they are considered as endangered.

We only have about 220 wolves here. A healthy Swedish wolf has never killed a person but 100-170 persons get murdered here every year. There are plenty of wolves in Canada, Russia, Romania and Latvia and the people there are almost not afraid at all of wolves. They don’t even understand the question. A ranger in Latvia asked a counter-question – “Are you afraid of foxes too?”