Study Questions Efficacy of Killing Wolves to Protect Livestock
Results show lethal management may make things worse.
Lethal management of wolves following wolf attacks on livestock may have unintended consequences, a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison suggests.
The study shows that government killing of wolves can increase the risk to nearby farms, providing further evidence for the ineffectiveness of the so-called “lethal control” policy approach.
The report also casts doubt on an earlier research paper, which government agencies often use to support the practice.
The research adds to a stack of recent scientific papers that question the often-used practice of killing predators to reduce the chances of attacks on cattle, sheep and other livestock. Wildlife managers across the West trap and kill wolves, cougars and coyotes and other predators, and lethal control has become more common for wolves in Oregon and Washington as their populations have grown. But many scientists contend there’s little good evidence for the effectiveness of those efforts.