Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Study: Killing wolves doesn't help livestock

Killing wolves to keep them from attacking livestock doesn't cut down on livestock losses to wolves in the long run, a University of Calgary study concludes. The report, released at the North American Wolf Conference in Pray, Montana, this morning, examined several years of information gathered in Canada and the Northern Rockies of the U.S.

Marco Musiani, an assistant professor in applied animal ecology at the University of Calgary, Canada, told the conference, "Wolves are being killed as a corrective, punitive measure, not a preventative one. "People hope that killing individual wolves that attack livestock will get rid of problem wolves and therefore bring about less attacks, but this isn't happening."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has killed a number of wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho since they were reintroduced to central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and 1996. The Wildlife Service policy is to remove wolves preying on livestock if it can be proven wolves are the culprits.

Musiani's study determined wolf attacks rise and fall each year coinciding with calving and grazing patterns of livestock and life-cycles of wolf pups. "If you run out and kill wolves preying on livestock, other wolves will simply take their place and you might have the same problem over and over again," Musiani said.

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