NAVOBOD, Tajikistan -- At least six people have been attacked by wolves in southeastern Tajikistan in the last several weeks, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
A survivor of one of the wolf attacks, Ozodamoh Saidnurulloeva, told RFE/RL that "before the wolves only attacked livestock; now they have started attacking humans."
Saidnurulloeva, 89, said she walked into her yard early one morning this week to prepare for the Muslim morning prayer when a wolf attacked her, knocked her down, and dragged her for several meters.
She said she thought the wolf was the "angel of death."
A neighbor who happened to be outside saw the attack and started screaming for help. The wolf then left Saidnurulloeva and ran away.
Saidnurulloeva has a doctor checking the bite wounds on her neck, hands, and fingers.
Uktambek Temurbekov, chief doctor in Saidnurulloeva's village of Navobod, told RFE/RL that her current condition is satisfactory. He said the the wolf's bite did not penetrate her bones and she is not in danger of getting an infection.
Locals in the Sijd and Rivak villages told RFE/RL they have pitchforks and shovels to fight wolves when necessary.
Law enforcement officers told RFE/RL that a special request has been sent to the Environmental Protection Department to send armed specialists to help reduce the wolf population in the area.
Department deputy chief Farkhod Mamadnazarbekov told RFE/RL on January 19 that he is personally coordinating the operation to neutralize the wolves in the region and expressed hope that the problem will be solved in three days.
Environment Protection Department officials in the southeastern Badakhshan Province say that in 2006 the local government stopped funding a program to kill wolves and therefore their numbers have dramatically increased.
The heavy snowfall in the region in the last several weeks forced the wolves to come down from the hills and mountains to local villages where they have attacked livestock and people.
Read more in Tajik here