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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273067

Title: Evaluation of wolf impacts on cattle productivity and behavior

item Clark, Pat
item WILSON, KERRY - Oregon State University
item LARSON, LARRY - Oregon State University
item WILLIAMS, J - Oregon State University
item RIMBEY, N - University Of Idaho
item JOHNSON, MICHAEL - University Of California
item CRANE, KELLY - University Of Idaho
item NDZEIDZE, STEVEN - Oregon State University
item JOHNSON, DOUGLAS - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Oregon State University Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2009
Publication Date: 12/31/2009
Citation: Clark, P., Wilson, K.D., Larson, L.L., Williams, J., Rimbey, N., Johnson, M.D., Crane, K., Ndzeidze, S.K., Johnson, D.E. 2009. Evaluation of wolf impacts on cattle productivity and behavior. Oregon State University Extension Publications. BEEF010:1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Gray wolf-livestock conflict has become a complex and controversial issue since wolves were reintroduced into the northern Rocky Mountains of the U.S. Much of the debate, however, has not been informed by scientific inquiry. We established an Adaptive Management System framework under which we have evaluated wolf presence effects on beef cattle resource selection during the 2008 and 2009 grazing seasons using GPS tracking collars on cattle and wolves. Resource selection responses derived from these data and those collected in the coming years of this long-term project will aid livestock producers, natural resource managers, and researchers in reducing wolf-livestock conflict in the northern Rocky Mountains and other areas of the world frequented by both wolves and livestock.

Technical Abstract: We have initiated and employed an Adaptive Management System (AMS) to document the effects of gray wolves on cattle production systems in Oregon and Idaho. The project has collected information on cattle movement on land in both wolf common and wolf rare areas with GPS collars that record positions every 5 minutes. Sixty cow collars were deployed in 2008 and 65 in 2009. We have also documented wolf presence using scat/sign surveys, sighting reports, and depredation reports filed by cooperating ranchers and APHIS Wildlife Services. The project has collared one wolf and will retrieve the collar in winter 2009. The GIS data layers have been collected or made for areas which are being used to define livestock preference for vegetative communities and landscape classes. Economic analysis has begun of ranching systems on paired sites to document wolf effects on the cattle productivity and profitability.