Wednesday, July 10, 2013

3 wolves killed at Flat Top Ranch

Control action follows deaths of 6 more sheep

Express Staff Writer

    Three more wolves, including a juvenile, have been killed on the Flat Top Ranch near Carey in a continuing control action since at least two dozen sheep were reported killed there in mid-May.
    The recent actions follow the killing by Idaho Wildlife Services of a female wolf on May 29. Jerome Hansen, Magic Valley regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said that since then, four more ewes and two lambs were reported killed by wolves at the ranch.
    Hansen said Wildlife Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, trapped and killed a sub-adult male wolf on June 26, an adult male on July 3 and a juvenile female on July 8.
    He said the sub-adult wolf was from last year’s litter and the juvenile from this year’s. According to the Department of Fish and Game’s website, wolves in Idaho are born in April. Asked whether the juvenile could have been responsible for killing sheep in late June, Hansen said, “I think it could be.”
    But Carter Niemeyer, retired Idaho wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, disputed that, saying “absolutely not.” Niemeyer said wolves don’t start hunting until they’re at least six months old.
    However, he pointed out that a wolf pup caught in a trap designed for an adult would likely be temporarily or permanently crippled and unable to keep up with a pack’s movements. He also said pups could not survive without parents or other adult pack members to feed them.
    A Big Game Mortality Report filed with the Department of Fish and Game by Wildlife Services states that the female wolf killed on May 29 was lactating. Idaho Wildlife Services Director Todd Grimm said at the time that the wolf had been lactating this season, but no longer was at the time she was killed.
    “We were very concerned that there were pups out there,” said Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that has advocated protecting wolves. “If there were wolf pups caught, it’s likely that they’ll be catching more of them. It’s a pretty stark difference between the pup that was found last year [near Ketchum] and what’s happening this year.”
    That pup, found along Warm Springs Road and initially believed to be a lost dog, was transported to Zoo Boise and then to a permanent home at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Va.

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