Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wolf control necessary


The recent killing of seven wolves near Stanley by U.S. Fish and Wildlife shooters is something Idahoans and other Americans need to accept as part of the reintroduction of wolves to the West.

Wolf packs that attack large numbers of domestic livestock cannot be allowed to indulge their predatory natures without having their numbers reduced.

Members of the Basin Butte pack had been implicated in 14 depredation incidents. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services had tracked the pack using radio collars on two wolves and said the pack had killed 36 sheep in just two nights in August.

Data published by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game lists wolf depredations for the year through Nov. 30 as follows: 76 cattle, 285 sheep and 14 dogs for a total of 375 domestic animals.

Records kept since 2003 show that confirmed wolf depredations have grown each year since, with this year's total reaching the highest level to date at nearly three times the total of 140 six years ago.

Through November, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services had killed 85 wolves in response to depredation on livestock. Including those taken by hunters, ranchers and other causes, both natural and human-induced, 245 wolves had been killed.

Control actions will have to be part of the state's management tools as ranchers, hunters and communities figure out how to coexist with wolf packs.

The relationship between wolves and man will always be rocky. Wolves simply will not lie down with lambs. Coming to terms with that fact and that wolves are an important part of the ecosystem is the struggle for Americans of every stripe.




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