Tag Archives: scientists

Researcher found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of dump sites on nearby farms…

Dumping cattle carcasses is illegal in Michigan and Wisconsin. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that leaving carcasses in the woods, especially in wolf range, will attract wild carnivores. It’s just plain and simple common sense practice to dispose of livestock properly. Properly disposing of dead livestock also helps prevent the spread of diseases.

It can also be a lesson well learned as in the following story told to me a couple years ago by a woman living in wolf range. I was talking with a woman that lives in the country with a resident wolf pack nearby. I asked her if she had seen any signs of them lately, and she said she hasn’t seen them, but knows they are nearby. Then, she told me her tragic story. They had two dogs, one young and one older, and recently lost the older dog because of a mistake they made. She told me that they dumped their food scraps in a pit in the woods down behind their house; That one day she came out to the garage to find the young dog cowering in the corner. Then, she heard the older dog let out a screech from the pit out behind the house. She ran to the pit, looked down into the woods, and there was no sight of the older dog. They looked but never found a trace of him. They did find wolf tracks though. I asked them if they reported the incident to the DNR and she said no because it was their fault. She said they stopped dumping food scraps in the pit in the woods behind their house. They understand their mistake and tragically too late for their older dog. They live in wolf range and are also farmers. They also respect wolves and understand their place in the ecosystem.

Recently…Research In Upper Peninsula Finds Dumped Livestock Is Changing Predatory Behavior

A study led by Tyler Petroelje, a wildlife researcher and doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, tracked the feeding behaviors of eight wolves from two packs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This research was part of a broader predator-prey study that investigated a variety of factors that affect deer populations in the region. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, the study suggested that dumping cow carcasses alters wolf behavior.

In the North Woods of Wisconsin and Michigan, a wolf’s natural diet typically consists of deer and beaver, Petroelje explained. But he found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of cattle carcasses from dump sites on nearby farm

The following is recommendations for disposing of dead livestock from Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Disposing of livestock carcasses is an important part of animal agriculture. Wisconsin law says that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.

Rendering, burial, burning and landfilling have been the typical means of disposal, but these are becoming less and less practical. Burial and burning create biosecurity hazards and threats to water and air quality. Rendering remains the best choice to protect the environment, public health, and animal health, but it is becoming more expensive and less available.

Cattle carcasses in particular are becoming more difficult and expensive to send to rendering because of federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal feed and pet foods, now prohibits using parts from cattle 30 months or older in any food for animals unless the spinal cord and brain are first removed.

We recommend composting carcasses to overcome these problems. Remember that composting is an active process.

Putting a carcass in the woods or on the back 40 to rot and/or be eaten by scavengers is not composting and:

• Risks disease transmission to your livestock and your neighbors’, and to wildlife.

• May contaminate water sources – including your well and your neighbors’ wells.

• Invites vermin and pests, including coyotes, that may transmit disease and prey on your livestock.

• Alienates neighbors and generally casts farmers in a bad light.

• Is illegal.

An Open Letter to the White House and Members of Congress from Scientists and Scholars on Federal Wolf Delisting…

More than 80 scientists and biologists, including Dr. Jane Goodall, have signed a letter urging Congress to oppose H.R. 424 and S. 164, the “War on Wolves Act” to strip Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. The scientists point out that critical decisions about imperiled species like wolves should not be the result of outdated public attitudes based on myths, misinformation, and fear. “A basic principle of wildlife management is that it be based on sound science. For that reason, it would be poor governance to manage a wildlife population on the basis of attitudes about wildlife that are profoundly untethered from scientific knowledge about wildlife. The proper role of government in a case like this is to work to ease the misperceptions of that small segment of Americans.” Find the letter at: www.humanesociety.org

February, 2017
An Open Letter to Members of Congress and the White House from Scientists and Scholars on Federal Wolf Delisting and Congressional intervention on Individual Species in the Context of the U.S. Endangered Species Act
We, the undersigned scientists and scholars, urge Congress to refrain from delisting gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming. In particular, we urge you to oppose H.R. 424 and S. 164. Gray wolves should be protected by the U. S. Endangered Species Act, 1973 (ESA) until the legal requirements for delisting them are met. All listings and delistings decisions should be undertaken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), consistent with the best available scientific data, and pursuant to a robust administrative process that considers input from all stakeholders and experts.
Over the past four decades, we have made incredible progress toward the recovery of wolves. Today, approximately 5500 wolves inhabit about 15% of their historic range within the contiguous United States. While we have made substantial progress toward recovery, the job is not done. Important work remains. In particular, the ESA requires that a species be recovered throughout a larger portion of its historic range than has currently been achieved.1
The American people are supportive of wolf conservation and the ESA2 and we are more than able to handle the work entailed by completing wolf recovery. The essential issues surrounding wolves – livestock losses3, interests pertaining to deer and elk hunting4, perceived threats to human safety5, and legal/political issues6 – are all quite manageable.
Congressional delisting of wolves should be avoided because it would be an inappropriate shortcut. Our treatment of wolves through the ESA is a herald for how we will treat the ESA in general and for the hundreds of species whose well-being depends on ESA protection. Opportunities to work through some important challenges of conservation are cut off if and when Congress intervenes by making decisions about individual species in the context of the ESA. Such intervention can seem like an expedited solution, but its larger effect is to inhibit progress on the broader issues of conservation and ESA implementation.
In recent years, Congress has increasingly made efforts to influence the management of individual species in the context of the ESA. These efforts have been motivated by local and special interests. As such, they eviscerate the essential purpose of federal governance and the ESA, which is to conserve species insomuch as doing so is a national interest. This concern is reinforced by broad public support for wolves and the ESA that transcends political orientation.7

We must get wolf recovery right by developing a healthy relationship with wolves, recognizing the important role they play in our ecosystems and refraining from unjustified persecution. Our actions will be judged by future generations of Americans for the kind of relationship we forge with wolves and the fair treatment of our fellow citizens who are impacted by wolves in a genuinely negative manner. Those relationships, whatever they may be, will say much about the kind of people we are. The American people are supportive of this work and we are more than able to accomplish it.

John Vucetich, Ph.D.

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Michigan Technological University Houghton, Michigan

Jeremy Bruskotter, Ph.D. Associate Professor

School of Environment and Natural Resources
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Adrian Treves, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor Environmental Studies University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin

Michael Paul Nelson, Ph.D.

Ruth H. Spaniol Chair of Renewable Resources and Professor of Environmental Philosophy and Ethics

Depart. of Forest Ecosystems and Society Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon

Click HERE to view full letter and list of signers