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Wolf-livestock conflicts up sharply in Wyoming

This image provided by the National Park Service shows a gray wolf in the wild. (National Park Service)
This image provided by the National Park Service shows a gray wolf in the wild. (National Park Service)

PREDATORS -- While Washington is dealing forcefully with a cattle-attacking wolf pack this month, the situation also is contentious elsewhere.

Federal officials say the number of conflicts between wolves and livestock in Wyoming is up sharply, exceeding the number of wolves that were killed last year, which was the second highest number in the state since they were reintroduced to the northern Rockies 21 years ago.

Sheep and cattle killed by wolves have been found in the Upper Gros Ventre area, in the Salt and Wyoming ranges and other areas of the state, wildlife officials said.

Here's more form the Associated Press:

The problems will increase in late summer and fall when pups have grown and demand lots of food, trying to put on fat for the winter, said Tyler Abbott, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy field supervisor for Wyoming.

“Between now and the next couple of months, it’s just going to get worse,” Abbott said. Last year, 54 wolves were killed, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services kills suspected livestock-killing wolves on behalf of Fish and Wildlife. Those wildlife officials have been flying to try to find the large Lava Mountain and Warm Springs wolf packs, which accounted for 32 animals killed at the end of the year. Abbott approved killing four wolves from those packs.

“They’re just moving too much,” he said.

The outcome could help officials decide whether two more wolves will be killed from packs in the Gros Ventre River drainage.

Wolf-cattle conflict in the Gros Ventre started in June, followed by a lull and then picked up again earlier this month, the Jackson Hole News and Guide reported .

Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.

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