Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wolves Kill 176 Sheep - Most Ever Recorded!

Wolves killed 176 sheep near Fogg Hill - and the Forest Service says stay out of area. 

176 sheep were killed early Saturday morning near Fogg Hill in the Pole Canyon area.

It's true, a southeastern Idaho rancher lost 176 sheep as the animals ran in fear from two wolves that chased through a herd of about 2,400 animals just south of Victor.

Sheepherders for the Siddoway Sheep Company heard the wolves at about 1 a.m. Saturday, but didn't know the extent of the damage until they saw the sheep piled up on each other at daybreak.

Wolves kill 176 sheep near Victor, greatest loss recorded in Idaho

J.C. Siddoway of Terreton says almost all of the sheep died from asphyxiation. About 10 died of bite wounds and one was partially consumed.

Idaho Wildlife Services State Director Todd Grimm says it's the greatest loss by wolves ever recorded in one instance in the state. About nine years ago, wolves killed 105 sheep on one night.

Grimm says a dozen wolves have been removed from the Pine Creek area this year.

At first Wildlife officials said only one animal seems to have been eaten in the attack.

The other sheep died after it was believed the wolves had them running then they piled up on each other and died from suffocation.

Now the U.S. Forest Service officials are asking people to stay out of an area.

Jay Pence, Teton Basin District ranger, said the sheep kill could attract a lot of people hoping to see predators coming to feed on the carcasses.

Ranchers and others are trying to deal with the situation, and visitors can hamper their activities.

"There are a lot more fun things to look at than dead sheep," said Pence.

Idaho Wildlife Services confirmed they were killed during a wolf.

The animals belonged to the Siddoway Sheep Company and were grazing in the area about six miles south of Victor, according to a release from Siddoway.

The attack, they said, occurred around 1 a.m.

Todd Grimm, director of the Wildlife Services Program, said his office confirmed the depredation Sunday. Many of the animals died from suffocation, since some apparently fell in front of the rest, resulting in a large pile-up.

“This was a rather unique situation,” said Grimm. “Most of the time they don’t pile up like this, but the wolves got them running.”

Only one animal seems to have been eaten in the attack, according to the Siddoway release.

“The sheep are not fenced,” said Billie Siddoway, in an email interview. “They move every few days to a new pasture within a designated area. The sheep are herded and monitored by two full-time herders, four herding dogs and at least four guard dogs.”

Grimm said there is already a “control action” in the area. Since July 3, 12 wolves have been lethally trapped, including nine pups. The goal is to take them all, he said.

“We expect that bears and other scavengers will soon locate the kill site,” said Billie Siddoway.

From the time of the first American colonists, wolves have killed domestic livestock.

One of the first wolf bounty laws was passed in Boston in 1630, but it wasn't until the 1930s that wolves were significantly reduced in number to prevent livestock depredation in the U.S.

What used to be a very agriculture friendly nation is now changing - and some people say it's not for the good of Americans and the world constantly in need of good healthy food.

As folks wrestle with the different concepts of acceptable "change" depending on what side of politics you are on, I can't help but wonder about the problems that wolves bring to the livestock producers in those region affected.

And yes, livestock producers faced with the burdens of over-regulation and the reintroduction of predators are barely scratching out a living.

While those on the left such as Environmental extremist call for the need to reintroduce predatory species, they just might want to ask themselves where's the compassion for those who provide us food?

It appears that Environmentalists have no compassion for people other than themselves and what they want.

Story by Tom Correa

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