Scott Lake

The Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission has been claiming that wolves killed a record number of livestock last year. But that’s misleading, because Wildlife Services, the secretive federal agency in charge of killing wolves in Idaho, is using a new method to verify wolf kills that is inaccurate and overbroad.

Specifically, Idaho Wildlife Services now maintains that it can confirm a wolf kill even where there is no evidence of predation, injury, or struggle. Last fall, Wildlife Services began claiming that cattle killed by wolves “often show no signs of a wolf attack,” and encouraged ranchers to report all livestock deaths in an effort to confirm more wolf depredations. The agency now asserts that livestock can die from “myopathy”—a form of muscle weakness caused by overexertion or stress—hours or even days after an encounter with wolves.

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