Wolves kill sheep in Bighorns
by Echo Renner, Wyoming Livestock Roundup
September 14, 2010
Wolves killed 24 sheep in July on the north end of the Bighorn Mountains in Sheridan County, about 15 miles south of the Wyoming / Montana state line.
"On July 12 and 13, wolves killed 18 lambs and one ewe. On July 19, wolves returned and killed five more lambs. These were confirmed wolf kills," says Mike Jimenez, Wyoming Wolf Coordinator with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The FWS requested USDA Wildlife Services (WS) remove the predators. Although FWS conducted an aerial search, and WS spent time on the ground, they have been unable to locate wolves.
"After the first kills, we moved the sheep a couple of miles, but it didnít help," says sheep owner, Keith Hamilton, of the Hamilton Ranch at Hyattville. "All of the sheep were killed in the same manner, and nothing was eaten."
"Weíve got guard dogs and one of the best sheep herders in the Bighorns. Our guard dogs work real well, and fortunately, we didnít lose any dogs."
The Hamiltonís own sheep and cattle, and although wolves have been sighted near Hyattville, the ranch has not suffered previous wolf losses.
"There may be more losses on the sheep that we donít know about," Hamilton says. "We wonít know that until we bring them in later this month."
Hamilton says itís important that Wyoming defend the Ďpredatorí status of wolves in most of the state, as written in the Wyoming Wolf Management Plan. "We have to be able to control (wolves), or weíll have more problems. The fact that we havenít been able to get wolves delisted is proof the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is broken. Wyoming has repeatedly met the FWS standards for delisting, and still they wonít delist the wolf in Wyoming. The ESA has only successfully delisted a handful of plants or animals. Often listing has nothing to do with the protection of a species."
In 2009, approximately three wolves killed 113 sheep on the south end of the Bighorn Mountains before all three were lethally removed. Jimenez says he does not currently know of any other wolves in that area, however, wolves are known to be in that area above the state line.
To report wolf sightings, contact Mike Jimenez at 307.330.5631. To report possible wolf predation on livestock, contact Jim Pehringer, WS Northwest Wyoming District Supervisor, at 307.272.3638.