Sheep losses to wolves surge in 2009Written by Jennifer Womack
According to Mike Jimenez in a late August wolf update, “Wolf depredation patterns this summer in Wyoming have been different compared to previous years. Wolves have killed exceptionally large numbers of sheep, but fewer cattle in the first eight months of 2009 when compared to 2008 and 2007.” Jimenez says five wolves have been removed in 2009.
Between January and August of this year, Jimenez says, “Three packs (Big Horn Mtn., Dog Creek and Black Butte) have killed more than 152 sheep and three guard dogs.” That compares to 14 sheep during the same timeframe in 2008 and 14 sheep between January and August 2007.
“The increase in sheep depredations in 2009 is due mainly to two new packs that recently formed in areas heavily grazed by domestic sheep,” says Jimenez. The Big Horn Mtn. Pack, which the agency believes to be two adults with pups, killed more than 70 sheep in June and July.
The Dog Creek Pack, which the agency describes as four to six adults with six pups, killed over 45 sheep and three guard dogs in August. Jimenez says the pack was in the Snake River drainage southwest of Jackson near the Idaho and Wyoming border. Five wolves were removed from the pack on Aug. 23, an effort that he says completed control actions.
The Black Butte Pack, which Jimenez says has existed for over two years, killed over 37 sheep and injured one guard dog so far this year. Located north of Pinedale, Jimenez says control efforts were completed recently when six wolves were removed from the area.
“From January through August 2009,” says Jimenez, “Wildlife Services confirmed nine cattle killed by wolves as compared to 29 cattle killed by wolves in the same time period in 2008 and 44 cattle in 2007.”