Thursday, September 28, 2006

Idaho Wolves in Trouble

The Lick Creek wolf pack is in trouble; over the past three weeks, pack members have killed 43 sheep.

Most recently, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services confirmed on September 13 that pack members had killed nine ewes near Bear Saddle on Rapid River. Pack members around the end of August killed 34 sheep. The producer still is missing many more that are presumed dead.

Idaho Fish and Game has authorized the removal of up to five un-collared wolves from the Lick Creek pack.

Elsewhere in the past week, other wolves killed 20 sheep and injured five more. State officials have authorized the removal 13 wolves. Wildlife Services has killed three wolves so far, and planned on removing up to 10 more, including up to five Lick Creek pack members.

Between January 1 and September 15, federal and state agents have killed 26 wolves in Idaho, and another nine wolves have been killed by ranchers under the 10j rule. A total of 19 cattle and more than 120 sheep have been confirmed killed so far this year.

But those are only a small part of the domestic livestock that die in Idaho every year. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, most livestock in Idaho die from causes other than predators. And most of those killed by predators are killed or eaten by coyotes, which killed 70 percent of the 7,400 lambs lost to predators in 2005.

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