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Are feral dogs or even wolves or bears present in the Georgian countryside these days?

I'm about to hitchhike from Tbilsi to Anaklia and sleep in my tent along the way. Should I expect to encounter such potentially dangerous creatures in the areas between these places? Are they a danger that locals in Georgia worry about?

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Aren't wolves very afraid of humans? –  RoflcoptrException Apr 15 '12 at 10:48
    
I don't know. We don't have them in my native country \-: But on my previous trip to Georgia when I was hitchhiking at dusk toward the small border crossing to Turkey people seemed to be warning me about wolves in the region (there was a language barrier). –  hippietrail Apr 15 '12 at 10:53
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We have them, but I've never seen one in my life :( However, "Wild wolves are generally timid around humans. Wolves usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected, but there are several reported circumstances in which wolves have been recorded to act aggressively toward humans. Compared to other carnivorous mammals known to attack humans in general, the frequency with which wolves have been recorded to kill or prey on people is much lower." –  RoflcoptrException Apr 15 '12 at 10:56
    
An older version of this question (focusing I suppose more on how to handle such situations rather than their presence in this part of the world) has been migrated to the Great Outdoors SE site: outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/1349/… –  hippietrail Apr 15 '12 at 10:56
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meanwhile, in Georgia: i.imgur.com/oaByo.png –  iHaveacomputer Apr 17 '12 at 8:54
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1 Answer

So, this is a question which is probably a little subjective - some people will probably tell you to be careful and never camp, others will say they've never heard of problems (much like when you tell someone you want to use Greyhound buses in North America).

A bit of research seems to say that:

" Amongst the wild animals found in the forests of Georgia the most common are Caucasian antelope, European wild boar, Caucasian goats, mountain goats, leopards and various types of reptiles and amphibians.". Oddly it doesn't mention bears, wolves or feral dogs. To me this would seem to mean that they're in such small populations that they'll be rare. The word "leopards" would concern me far more.

Wikitravel's section on Georgian safety mentions NOTHING of wildlife.

Looking up wolf attacks on Wikipedia, the village of Giorgitsminda, about 40 kilometres from Tbilisi, Georgia had a wolf attack a woman in Feb 2009. Here's an article about the attack, which points out another attack just weeks earlier. However these seem isolated and rare enough to make international news.

This page mentions the wildlife again and points out that leopards have had only a handful of spottings in the last half-century.

Searching for feral or wild dog attacks brings up only the attack made famous in Georgia (USA) a few years back, rare enough to send shockwaves around the world. Sites that talk about Europe feral dogs typically mention Romania (example) and from my experience, that's the only country in the world where I've felt uneasy about them (when a semi-circle of them is closing in on you it raises concerns).

So, long story short, I personally would say: Go for it, but close your tent at night :D

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"leopard" is probably a poor translation (and/or misreported feral cats, happens several times a year in European countries). Lynx do live in the area (or mountain lions for Americans). Probably a bigger worry than wolves, as you said. Close your tent and keep light/fire (and then I'd be more worried about people than animals with or without said light). –  jwenting May 3 '12 at 9:12
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protected by Ankur Banerjee Feb 2 '13 at 18:46

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