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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Relative Risks of Predation on Livestock Posed by Individual Wolves, Black Bears, Mountain Lions, and Coyotes in Idaho

  • Author(s): Collinge, Mark
  • et al.

Gray wolf populations have exceeded anticipated recovery levels since they were first reintroduced to central Idaho in 1995. Although wolf predation on livestock is a relatively minor issue to the livestock industry as a whole, it can be a serious problem for some individual livestock producers who graze their stock in occupied wolf habitat. This paper compares Idaho population estimates for gray wolves with the available information on numbers of livestock killed by wolves in order to estimate numbers of livestock killed per wolf. This information is compared with similar analyses for other species most commonly implicated as predators of livestock in Idaho (coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions). Population estimates for coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions are based on review of available scientific literature and analyses in environmental assessments prepared by Wildlife Services, as well as estimates from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Wolf population estimates are based primarily on monitoring information provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Nez Perce Tribe. Estimates of numbers of livestock killed by wolves, coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions are based on survey data compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rationale for use of various data sets is provided, and limitations of the data are discussed. This analysis suggests that individual wolves are much more likely to prey on livestock than are individuals of any other predator species in Idaho.

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