Killing predators to protect livestock doesn't even work, a recent study showed. In fact, it can backfire, increasing the odds that regional predators will prey on farm animals.
"While predators are far from the leading cause of death of livestock, they are the most visible," Richard Conniff, author of "House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth," wrote in a New York Times op-ed. "Killing as many of them as possible in turn can feel like a deeply gratifying solution, in a way that dealing with disease or bad weather never has been. We seem to kill predators out of mindless, even primordial antipathy, rather than for any good reason. It is how we managed by the mid-20th century to eradicate gray wolves almost completely from the lower 48 states."
In 2015, the Wildlife Services killed 3.2 million wild animals - including bobcats, prairie dogs, coyotes and foxes - by trapping, shooting and poisoning. The slaughter was up half a million animals, from 2.7 million in 2014.
The gray wolf who was killed this week because of an M44 is just another victim of this kind of "wildlife management."
"APHIS' Wildlife Services (WS) is reviewing the unintentional take incident internally with ODFW for further evaluation and discussion on how to address livestock conflicts while minimizing risks of unintentional capture and take," Bell said.