It's time to lay the big bad wolf myth to rest
I have to strongly disagree with many of the points made in "Addressing the 'wolf' in the room" (July 1 Wisconsin State Farmer). Scientific studies and governmental data overwhelmingly demonstrate that most livestock losses are due to things like weather, birthing problems, and disease.
According to the USDA, over 97% of unwanted cattle losses in Wisconsin were from respiratory, digestive, and calving problems. And based on information from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the USDA-Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed or injured 30 cattle and four sheep in 2018 — that’s 0.0007% of the 4.8 million cattle and sheep in Wisconsin.
While I sympathize with the author’s loss of a cow, the best available science shows that killing wolves makes rare livestock conflicts worse — because we disrupt wolves’ stable pack social structures, leaving inexperienced youngsters behind to fend for themselves. Non-lethal methods of protecting livestock like electrical fencing and fladry are more effective, humane, and thrifty.
It’s time to lay the myth of the big bad wolf to rest — because it’s nothing more than a myth as the data show.
As a panel of five independent, objective scientists recently pointed out in their review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to remove federal protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act, delisting wolves is premature and not based on sound science. I encourage you to submit a comment opposing their proposal at regulations.gov (search “Docket No. FWS-HQ-2018-0097”).
Town of Vandenbroek