Killing wolves to reduce predation on livestock does not work, according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University.
The study found that killing wolves as a management technique may be doing more harm than good. Researchers concluded that the animals end up killing more livestock after their numbers have been reduced. The study found that wolf pack stability is important to controlling wolf impacts on livestock.
“They just want to get rid of wolves,” said Rob Wielgus, a wildlife ecology professor and lead author of the study. “Livestock lobbyists are pretty much vehemently opposed to my research. But in terms of hard science, it stood the test.”
Nearly 1,700 wolves roam the northern Rockies region, up from 66 animals in Idaho and Wyoming in the mid-1990s. There are an estimated 50 wolves in Washington state.
Groups in favor of wolf management in the region blasted the study, and Jamie Henneman, a spokeswoman for the group Washington Residents Against Wolves, said the study was “not clean science” (Kirk Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 3). — MH