Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wolf in Newport, Wisconsin to be trapped and killed

Newport - A wolf that stalked a Newport dairy farm recently attacked a calf and a dog and is now slated to be killed.

Adrian P. Wydeven, a mammalian biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources, said the wolf attacked and injured a calf on the Lavern Davis farm and attacked a dog. The calf survived but its veterinarian bill was $150. The dog also survived but needed stitches for its wounds.

The DNR in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services will live trap the wolf and then euthanize it with either a lethal drug or a "carefully placed bullet to the head."

The trapping, Wydeven said, will probably happen within the next few days. The DNR and Wildlife Service have killing other wolves that attack farm animals and dogs. Wydeven said last year 29 wolves were killed, 24 were killed in 2004 and 17 were killed in 2003. Most of those were in northern Wisconsin where an estimated 450 wolves reside.

"A relatively few cause problems," he said.

Trapping and killing is the preferred method, Wydeven said, because once the wolf learns to hunt a certain prey it will continue to do so. He said that in northern Wisconsin one wolf pack learned to hunt dogs and killed nine of them.

The DNR has had an offer from Frank Wendland, co-founder of a wolf sanctuary in Colorado, to take the wolf. "I have a place for it to go. It may take a bit of paperwork and for government agencies to work together, but the animal's life is worth it. I would like to see government agencies cooperate." Wendland has been keeping wolf-dog hybrids for 12 years. He places them in eight to 10 foot fenced enclosures that cover a third to an acre in size.

Wydeven said the DNR has refused Wendland's offer because of the liability. If this animal is a wolf-dog hybrid and it were to injure someone at the sanctuary, and the person sued, Wendland could run out of money. "The liability is too great."

If the animal is a pureblood wolf, Wendland doesn't have the proper permits, Wydeven said. "That's not an easy thing to do over a short time period," he said of Wendland getting the permits.

Wendland said if the animal is pureblood wolf, he could get the permits if the government would cooperate.

However, the wolf's fate is not for sure. Wydeven said about half the time when the DNR tries to trap wolves, they escape and leave the area.

Wendland heard about the wolf's fate on the Internet where a "loosely knit group of wolf-dog rescue groups exchange information."

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