Gray wolf a growing problem for US cattle

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – The State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act, which would return management authority of gray wolves to the states and remove them from the endangered species list, is supported by the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). US Representatives Rob Bishop (R-Utah); Mike Simpson (R-Idaho); Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.); Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.); Trent Franks (R-Ariz.); Wally Herger (R-Calif.); Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah); and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced the legislation.

PLC and NCBA support their efforts to return wolf management to states and bring relief to livestock producers.

“Wolf depredation of livestock is becoming increasingly prevalent in areas where wolves have been introduced under the Endangered Species Act [ESA],” said Bill Donald, NCBA president-elect and Montana rancher. “We lost a couple of calves and a cow this summer. When the pack on our ranch grows to more than eight, wolf depredation of livestock starts. If the pack remains small, it doesn’t bother cattle. This is evidence that wolves no longer need to be listed under the ESA. However, instead of delisting wolves, the US Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS] continuously increases ESA Recovery Plan goals, making delisting impossible.”

Unlike many species listed under the ESA, wolves pose a serious threat to wildlife, humans and private property, especially livestock, said John Falen, PLC president and federal lands rancher. He said the FWS does not have resources to manage continued listing of the gray wolf under the ESA. He also noted studies have shown for every confirmed kill of livestock there are seven to eight that go unconfirmed.

“Rather than continuing to allow the distant federal government to dictate how ranchers manage and care for their herds, the State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act would return authority to the states where it rightly belongs,” Falen said. “Wolf depredation threatens ranchers’ livelihoods and rural communities and economies relying on a profitable agricultural industry. It is time to end the unwarranted listing of the gray wolf. We urge more members of Congress to support this legislation.”
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