Wolves creating problems for western cattle ranchers

A wolf growls and shows its teeth.

Wolves have been in the headlines a lot recently.
It appears that they are causing a lot of trouble for western cattle producers.

As we have reported, conservation groups are pushing a plan to re-wild the West by introducing threatened species like wolves and beavers on federal land.
They claim it could mitigate drought, wildfires, and climate change, but ag groups say it could have severe consequences for livestock grazing.

In Oregon, a federal grant will soon be available to help farmers and ranchers combat wolves. $100,000 dollars will be spent by the USDA to help solve the problem in non-lethal ways like range riding, carcass management, and safer fencing options. Leaders at the Western Landowners Alliance say preventing livestock deaths is sometimes difficult because wolves can be quite intelligent.

Washington state is considering lethal actions after several cattle were killed by wolves. The department considers lethal control after at least three predations in 30 days.

Rep. Dan Newhouse says that we should “follow the science.” The GOP recently introduced the “Trust the Science Act” to strengthen the management of the gray wolf.
“It’s been proven, and the decision was made that the gray wolf is a true success story, and putting it back on the threatened and Endangered list detracts from our ability as a country to focus on those other species that truly need our help,” Newhouse stated.

September was a tough month for Washington ranchers. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed wolf attacks on cattle on September 1st, 16th, and 19th. The department says that there have been five depredation events since August 22nd. The result was three dead livestock and two injured, according to Big Country News.

Last week, Colorado saw double-digit cattle deaths. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife saw 22 dead calves with more injured. Wolves were the main suspects, the Coloradoan reported.
This week the number of deaths outside of Meeker has increased to 33. However, now officials believe that disease may be a contributing factor. They are still currently awaiting test results as part of the investigation.

Ed Bangs, who oversaw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s grey wolf recovery program, stated, “This is a weird one for sure. Typically this time of year, wolf predation on elk and other prey is lower because prey is in the best shape of the year and some wolves turn to cattle because they are more vulnerable.”

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