Sterilization of wolves considered
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 9, 2010
The USDA-APHIS Idaho Wildlife Services office, which performs wolf control in Idaho, has the following to say in its annual wolf activity report:
"One approach that has been recommended by a number of recognized wolf experts as a potential means of reducing wolf-livestock conflicts is to consider sterilization of wolves in certain circumstances (Cluff et al. 1995, Mech et al. 1996, Haight et al. 1997).
"In Idaho, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has increasingly authorized removal of most or all of the members of wolf packs involved in chronic depredations on livestock, particularly where there has been a history of depredations from a previous year or years. In some situations, these territories are re-occupied as soon as the following year, and conflicts with livestock occur again.
"Wildlife Services (WS) recommends that in some of these chronic problem areas, surgical sterilization of one or both alpha wolves be considered as an alternative to removal of all the pack members. Determinations as to which packs might qualify for this treatment would depend a number of logistical factors.
"If IDFG authorizes removal of all the members of a chronic depredating pack, WS proposes that in those cases where it is logistically feasible, alternative consideration be given to removing all the members except the 2 alphas, while the alphas would be concurrently live-captured, surgically sterilized, radio-collared and released.
"Subsequent monitoring would provide information regarding whether or not this approach might be effective in reducing wolf/livestock conflicts in the treatment area."