Better Access to Wolf Collar Data Needed
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Prompted by recent wolf depredation on the Dashiell cattle and sheep ranch near Hunters the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association has sent a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife demanding better protocols be put in place for sharing wolf collar data with producers in wolf pack areas. Jamie Henneman with the SCCA explains.
HENNEMAN: One thing that we learned early on in this situation was that our rancher had no access to the collar data for one of the offending wolves. Independently our ranchers have asked for the collar data and as an Association we had really pushed for it last year before the turnout of grazing season.
The relentless wolf attacks have left more than 24 sheep dead and others severely maimed, despite non-lethal wolf management efforts, such as full time guard dogs and rotating grazing areas.
HENNEMAN: Fish and Wildlife did not follow through on their commitment to remove four problem wolves in the Huckleberry Pack. They managed to remove one through a helicopter, then with a holiday weekend they pulled out and left. That put the rancher in a really awful situation because the killings, despite all of the non-lethal deterrents, just simply didn't stop. There were two to three attacks on a daily basis.
Originally the WDFW assured producers that obtaining collar data would only require a simple liability/release form, then told of technical issues and that producers would need to sign additional documents, including a Damage Preventative/Cooperative Agreement.
HENNEMAN: So at this point we’re bringing the subject back up and saying, “look, we were promised a simple way to access this information - you want us to manage our livestock to prevent wolf conflict and yet you refuse to give us the tool to do so.”
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.