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Posted: Aug 22 2006, 01:37 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 10-July 06
By Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard - 08/08/2006
Federal trappers shot and killed eight wolves Friday near Sula from a pack that had repeatedly killed livestock, a state wildlife official said.
An adult wolf, two yearlings and five pups from the Sleeping Child pack that roamed the East Fork of the Bitterroot River were killed by agents from Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
She said throughout the summer FWP and ranchers in the area have hazed the wolves, had people around livestock and even killed three that were causing problems, but the pack kept coming back and getting into trouble.
“It’s one of those unfortunate situations where our best efforts to get it turned around has been unsuccessful,” she said. “We have seen an escalating behavior of getting into livestock.” Two weeks ago the pack was spotted by a rancher chasing five horses in a pasture. Then a calf was found dead Tuesday.
FWP biologists picked up the signal from a collared female that was on the carcass and upon investigating the kill found numerous wolf tracks at the scene. And pups had been spotted chasing horses, indicating they were learning that livestock is prey from the adults.
The pack had attacked several other domestic animals throughout the summer, including killing two yearling steers, a calf and a dog. The habitual attacks gave FWP no choice but to have the pack eliminated, Sime said.
The fact that the wolves were staying low near private land and not moving into the mountains to hunt deer and elk that have moved higher was another factor in the decision, she said.
“By the time they begin to recognize livestock as a food source, they do teach that to other wolves in the pack,” Sime said. “It’s sort of like when bears learn about food sources, they become very persistent.” The remaining two adults and two pups will be killed, Sime said. The pack includes a collared female that will be shot last to ensure that no pups are left.