States such a Wisconsin must stop denying all the scientific data that supports the fact that lethal management backfires. There are a growing number of scientific reports that support this. Now there is a newly published study by Dr. Adrian Treves and Francisco J. Santiago-Avila at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Ari Cornman, a biologist with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in northern Michigan, found that the state’s lethal control of wolves involved in verified livestock conflicts did not appear to reduce future losses on those farms. In fact, it found that trapping the offending wolves on the farm only shifted the problem laterally, causing other wolves to look to the neighboring farm for an easy meal instead. The data was collected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and consisted of 230 cases of wolf attacks on livestock in the Upper Peninsula from 1998 to 2014. The study concluded, “Following recommendations for ethical wildlife management, lethal management should be discontinued, as currently the harm it causes wolves and livestock is not offset by benefits.”
Dozens of studies and reports came to the same conclusion: random killing of wolves disrupts stable family packs and sends juvenile wolves, less experienced at killing traditional prey, to get into more trouble by seeking out an easy meal elsewhere.
Internationally renowned predator ecologist professor Dr. Robert Wieglus was the first to assess the effects of wolf mortality on reducing livestock depredations. It was the largest of its kind, analyzing 25 years of lethal control data from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Interagency Annual Wolf Reports in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. All the research and data found that killing one wolf increases the odds of depredations 4 percent for sheep and 5 to 6 percent for cattle. If 20 wolves are killed, livestock deaths double. The science can no longer be ignored. We have all seen that year after year the research has proven to be true.
In the Great Lakes from 2012 to 2014 (for a time period when wolves had been delisted), confirmed attacks by wolves on livestock in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have been in decline. So when wolves are not randomly killed, their packs—which consist of a breeding pair and their offspring—can focus on teaching juveniles to hunt their preferred, wild prey, rather than turning to livestock for sustenance. There were, in fact, fewer losses!
In Wisconsin, a state with 1.5 million cattle and cows on 24,300 dairy and beef farms, the DNR found that even as the state’s wolf population recovered from ruthless hunting, trapping, and hounding between 2012 and 2014, there is no correlation between that increase in wolf numbers and confirmed wolf attacks on livestock.
Currently, there is legislation pending in Wisconsin, A.B. 712 and S.B. 604, Also known as “the poaching Bill” They endorse the poaching of wolves. Backed by the wolf haters in the Wisconsin State legislature, some of whom are backed by extremely wealthy trophy hunting interests such as the Safari Club International, The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
Up until the 1970s, this iconic species had been wiped out by trapping, poisoning and a particularly barbaric practice that I will choose to omit. Hounding will also will take place if passed.
In Wisconsin, there have been approximately 30 incidents per year involving wolves out of several million farm animals so there is no reason to target wolves. There are many other options but like many states. they choose the easiest one. Now the blood sport lobby smells imminent victory and the public, for the most part, has other things to worry about than the horror show planned for our wildlife in this state like others and it could be a tragic ending for those who have no voice.
We need decisions based on science! We must all speak out to our elected officials and Congress to OPPOSE ALL WOLF DELISING BILLS. We cannot have decisions that are not based on science cruel to wolves and pander to special interest groups
NO MORE LETHAL MANAGEMENT PLEASE! There is plenty of evidence that supports the fact that it will make matters worse for livestock producers. Even those that choose not to acknowledge all the scientific data— we have all seen it happen every year. There are is so much available that can help avoid conflict and prevent predation. There are a number of non-lethal interventions are effective such as range riders that are diligent, flags of different sizes and even colors, spotlights and “risk maps” that discourage grazing animals in hard-to-protect, wolf-rich areas. There is so much everyone can do and Protect the Wolves™ is also willing to help. ~L.G