Thursday, April 06, 2006

Killing wolves to protect livestock fruitless: study

A University of Calgary study shows killing wolves to protect cattle and sheep doesn't work in the long run.

The study, co-authored by Cormack Gates of the university's faculty of environmental design, says destroying the wolves may stop damage in the short term, but sooner, rather than later, other wolves move in to take their place. Gates says there's no question that, while there will always be a necessity to kill individual wolves, ranchers and shepherds should look for other ways to control the amount of livestock they lose to wolves.

Gates says there are simple and natural ways to reduce the risk to livestock from predators. "Instead of running yearlings on their own in grazing dispositions, have some older animals that know how to react appropriately to wolves, [for instance] running longhorn steers with these animals to provide some sort of protection."

The study, which was being released Wednesday, also suggests compensation packages to offset costs to producers. Rather than making it a government program, he says, the money could come from private-sector groups concerned about nature conservation.

  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

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