Wolves were reintroduced in 1996, and since then biologists have done a lot of work to keep track of them, study them, and keep them safe. Wolves, when left to their own devices, are easily able to recover their numbers and regain their territory. Once you add humans into the mix, things get more complicated.
The main conflict is between wolves and ranchers. When wolves kill livestock, it can cost a rancher thousands of dollars. This can put them in a tough financial situation, especially if they’re a smaller business.
However, when we look at the data, wolves don’t kill livestock very often. A rancher’s cattle also faces threats from weather, bears, coyotes, and cougars. Weather and illness make up more than half of the deaths. When it comes to wolves, it’s less than 1%.
Biologists can use their research data to figure out where wolves go and implement nonlethal methods of keeping them away from a rancher’s livestock.
An understanding of both sides is necessary to find solutions. Take five minutes to read our article here to learn more about how biologists keep track of wolves, what happens to the ecosystems when wolves are present, and more about what ranchers face when it comes to wolves.