Dunces With Wolves
The age-old conflict between wolves and livestock owners is erupting again. Last year, at least 40 farm animals in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming were killed by wolves, which were reintroduced to the American West in the mid-1990s. In response, a significant number of the predators have been killed this year as well (including all 10 wolves from the Whitehawk pack). Under a federal compromise negotiated when the wolves were reintroduced, any of the animals that harm livestock can be destroyed. Farmers defend wolf-killing as necessary to protect their livelihoods, but many conservationists believe the step is simply too drastic. (Apparently, their arguments aren’t holding water in Idaho, where a law grants ranchers the right to shoot a wolf on private property, whether or not livestock are at risk.) The federal government spent nearly $15,000 to hunt down and kill the Whitehawk wolves, even though the livestock losses amounted to just hundreds of dollars, and the owners were compensated for their losses.