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GRAPPLE | WITH ISSUES AND IDEAS

Record Arctic melt | Fish-hunting cat | Next big thing: sperm? | Wolves vs. cows | Up to Speed

Prime Cuts

Wolves vs. cows
Peter and Maria Hoey

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list last August, the state promptly put them on the hunting list. In Idaho, hunters have the option to kill wolves year-round. And when hunters in Montana failed to kill enough wolves in 2011, state wildlife commissioners allowed wolf trapping as well. These efforts are motivated, in large part, by the belief among ranchers that wild wolves are a major threat to livestock. But looking at 2010 data, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that wolves accounted for just 0.2 percent of "unintended [i.e., pre-slaughterhouse] cattle losses"--fewer than are lost to theft, domestic dogs, or vultures. —Paul Rauber


Editor's note: The USDA data on which this graphic was based covered the entire United States. Only five states have more than 200 wolves and experienced wolf predation on cattle. In these states, the percentages of wolf predation in 2010, compared with total losses from all causes, are as follows: Minnesota, 3.13%; Montana, 2.86%; Idaho, 1.96%; Wyoming, 1.76%; and Wisconsin, 0.97%.


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