More Than Just a Wolf-Mask


kolektyw.wilczyce on Instagram

Paula Le, Editor

At first glance it may appear that individuals are cosplaying as wolves, but there is a further purpose.

Wolfens Collective is an activist group with one main goal, to safeguard Poland’s forests. In recent times, Poland’s Karpacka Forest has been utilized for charcoal production, Karpacka Forest is home to 150-year-old trees and a range of wildlife.

In the past nine months, the activist members of the collective have made attempts to prevent endangerment to the forest in response. Though protests have dated back a few decades ago, the Polish government has yet to create a National Park for the forest.

In an interview with VICE World News, members of the Wolfens Collective — spoke on condition of pseudonyms — explained how not only do they wish to stop the shortage of trees, but they want to create a community with values of equality for oppressed groups such as queers and animals. It’s a space where clothes and food are communal, and understanding and patience is amongst everyone.

kolektyw.wilczyce on Instagram

The group purposefully set up base in Section 219a, for the specific place has been known for logging and deforestation. They believe the logging of trees is a major threat to nature and us humans. “We are fighting for the next generation,” according to Lava.

There have been interactions between the Wolfens Collective and those who don’t see eye-to-eye with the cause. Apparently, forest guards/woodcutters claim the cutting and logging is to stabilize the forest and to protect it- quite opposite to what most scientists have said. Real forest guards should be protecting the forest, not cutting them down. On the other spectrum, the collective is fine with individuals visiting their camp—those sharing or not sharing the same values—as long as there is a basis of respect. “We probably prefer to call it participation because having ‘visitors’ and ‘guests’ creates hierarchy and there is no such thing here,” Manu stated.

The reason for some of the activists wearing wolf masks? To simply protect their identities. The reason could be for protection against the Polish government, for the government has a history of not dealing well with those who are “different.” The Women’s Strike last year being an example.

Wolfens Collective hopes for the Polish government to change its attitudes towards the climate crisis. Poland being a traditionalist government that is conservative and has oppressed certain groups like women needs to see the pressure from society. Capitalism should be one of them they should fix in the eyes of the collective. Instead of seeing the forests as business, people need to consider nature—the air, wildlife, water, and space.