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A geographical perspective on the decline and extermination of the Irish wolf canis lupus - an initial assessment

Kieran R. Hickey


Wolves were a component of the Irish landscape until 1786 when the last one was killed. It had taken a concerted effort by Cromwell and his Government in Ireland to bring this about particularly through deforestation and landscape change, legislation, bounties and the efforts of a few professional wolf hunters. This paper estimates the wolf population in Ireland at three lime periods in the 1600s and examines how each of the forces already mentioned led to their eventual extermination. The 87 dated and documented wolf incidents which include wolf attacks on both animals and humans, wolf observations and the hunting and killing of wolves over the period 1560-1789 show both spatial and temporal variations.

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