Michigan records confirm extremely few wolf-livestock conflicts in 2019 bit.ly/32ftoZn
The National Wolfwatcher Coalition analyzed data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from wolf depredation and loss compensation records maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The records indicated that of the nearly 50,000 head of cattle in the U.P. wolves were responsible for the death of five calves. In addition, two ducks and 10 free-ranging chickens were killed. Two farms reported a problem so far in 2020, each losing one calf. Michigan livestock producers are compensated the full market value for livestock killed by wolves.
“Several scientific studies suggest that hunting or lethal control of wolves, even in an area adjacent to depredations, is not effective,” said Nancy Warren, Executive Director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition and a U.P. resident. “Instead, experts recommend the use of non-lethal tools such as donkeys, guard dogs, lights, fladry and fencing which have been proven to be effective in minimizing losses to native carnivores.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, respiratory, calving and digestive problems along with weather are the top killers of livestock.
“Except in the movies, wolves pose little risk to humans,” said Warren. “But even though wolves in the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota remain under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act, the lethal removal of wolves that are even perceived to be a threat to humans is still permitted.”