Ranchers not just crying wolf

From the Westerner - Dick Thoman, a fourth-generation sheep rancher in Wyoming, woke up one morning and found 42 of his sheep bloody and dead on the open range. They had been slaughtered by wolves. The wolves didn't kill only what they needed to survive, and they didn't kill because they were hungry, as some like to claim. They killed for sport; they killed because that's what wolves do. Not one of the sheep had been eaten. "Just killed 'em and left 'em," says Thoman. Thoman's summer range borders Yellowstone. He loses 300 to 400 sheep a year to wolves, or about 10 percent of his herd. Why would they chase wild game in the park for hours on end when they can find them all bunched up and defenseless on adjacent ranches? It's like a grocery store on hooves. Did anybody not see that coming? "They've slaughtered us since they brought them back," Thoman says. "It's terrible." This doesn't even take into account Thoman's other losses. With wolves around, sheep are nervous. Imagine having a terrorist loose in the neighborhood each night, trying to get into your house to kill you. The sheep don't sleep or eat as well. "We probably lost 15 pounds per lamb over the summer, and at a dollar a pound and over 3,000 lambs, that adds up," says Thoman...more


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