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David Sparks Ph.d Wolf Depredation
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: August 14, 2018

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Wolf kills affect a record 113 Idaho producers in a single year in FY ’18

With over 61 confirmed wolf-livestock kills already documented in the state of Idaho so far in 2018, federal authorities are expecting a busy summer. Officials said wolves killed seven sheep in three separate attacks in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area between July 9th and July 13th. 

Wolves were reintroduced to Idaho beginning in 1995. Good decision? Federal authorities responded to a record 113 different sheep and cattle ranches in the 2018 state fiscal year to perform necropsies on wolf-livestock kills.

“This is going to be a busy summer,” said Todd Grimm, Idaho State Director of federal APHIS Wildlife Services. “There seems to be greater awareness of cattle and sheep producers that the potential is there that wolves are coming into more conflict with livestock.”

While environmental groups complained last week about Wildlife Services killing wolves in response to the sheep kills in July, officials with the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission noted that Wildlife Services was simply doing its job. Northwest rancher Jack Field: “When the Department goes through - even after they check all the boxes and can document that all the steps have been taken to prevent or mitigate impact - whenever lethal force has to happen it always becomes a very divisive and explosive discussion politically and socially. The Department really needs to focus and spend their time and energy educating the general public about what wolf management is and what it takes to manage and recover an apex predator - meaning the Department needs to make sure the public clearly understands that when you’re recovering wolves you have to be able to successfully remove problem wolves. ”

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