Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ranchers say weights have declined since wolf reintroduction

BOZEMAN. Mont. Cattle ranchers in the Paradise Valley say shipping weights have declined since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. They say their cattle stay close to gates instead of grazing entire pastures.

Wary animals tend to eat less than relaxed animals.

To see if there's a correlation between wolves and lower shipping weights, Montana State University's Jim Knight will examine shipping records and a variety of factors -- such as rainfall -- that may be responsible for reduced weights. He may obtain satellite images that show vegetation cover.

Knight is a professor of animal and range sciences at Montana State, and an M-S-U Extension wildlife specialist. He expects to finish his study by the end of the summer.


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