Research yields map of Wis. wolf attacks

June 1, 2011 at 9:57 PM
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MADISON, Wis., June 1 (UPI) -- Attacks on livestock, a major facet of conflict between wolves and people, are localized and may be predictable, researchers in Wisconsin say.

"It's just hard to live alongside large carnivores. They damage crops, they kill livestock and pets, they threaten people's safety," University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Adrian Treves said.

The simple presence of wolves was enough to make farmers fear for their animals, he said.

Research has yielded a risk map of wolf attacks on livestock in Wisconsin, which identifies areas of high and low risk throughout the state, a UWM release reported Wednesday.

In the study that yielded data for the map, of the parts of Wisconsin within 60 miles of a wolf pack -- most of the state, excluding the southern and southeastern-most regions -- only one-third of the study area was found to be at risk of wolf attacks on livestock. The highest-risk areas comprise just 10.5 percent of the state, concentrated in the northwest and a few pockets near Lake Superior, researchers said.

The map will help farmers and resource managers target prevention efforts on those high-risk hot spots and hopefully reduce livestock attacks, Treves said.

"Prediction promotes prevention," he said. "Every single wolf pack in Wisconsin has access to people or pets or livestock," but with only a handful implicated in attacks each year, "the majority of the wolf population is not causing problems."

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