ADMB looks at wolf impacts
During a Nov. 1 meeting of the Animal Damage Management Board (ADMB), USDA Wildlife Services Wyoming Director Mike Foster noted that since July 1, nine wolves have been removed in Wyoming’s predator zone as a result of depredation incidents.
“We’ve spent about 37.7 hours in the air and 279 hours on the ground, for right at about $25,000 doing work under our contract with ADMB,” Foster explained, noting that the figures are current as of the end of September.
Work related to wolves has been done in Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park and Sublette counties.
“It seems that this year, we have been a little slower than in other years, with not quite as many problems with depredation,” he continued.
Foster added that, in Wyoming’s predator zone, it is legal for anyone to take a wolf, but as a federal agency, they are restricted to removing wolves only when conflicts arise.
“Through our compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, environmental assessments and other regulatory measures, we don’t just go in and randomly remove any kind of predators, including wolves,” Foster explained. “It is our policy for Wyoming that we must have an incident before our guys are allowed to start removing wolves.”
Further, Kent Drake, Wyoming Department of Agriculture predator management coordinator, added, “ADMB has also adopted rules that don’t allow pursuit of wolves without a depredation event. We are on the same page as Wildlife Services.”
Drake added ADMB has also not had wolf activity in counties with independent contract trappers that have asked for reimbursement as a result of wolf removal.
During the tele-conference meeting, Lisa Robertson from Jackson inquired as to whether funds from ADMB are used for alternative techniques to deter wolves, rather than just lethal removal, and Drake responded the funding Foster referred to was strictly set up to address depredation.
“Local predator boards are given a pool of money, and it is up to them to determine how to manage that,” he explained. “We also have a final amount of money for research and on-the-ground projects.”
In the past, Drake described that several projects have done things like assessing the use of different breeds of guardian dogs, as well as collars for guardian dogs, targeted at impact from wolves.
“The funds we have expended to remove wolves are spent according to rules that have already been set,” he added.
Learn more about the Animal Damage Management Board by visiting wyadmb.com or calling Drake at 307-777-6781. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.