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August 14, 2006

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Acai

I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for a wonderful job!

Marianne

Stopped here by way of Sarpy Sam's blog, one of my all time favorites. Your post is very well thought out and seems to present many aspects of the problem in a reasonable light. We have seen changes here in the east in the behavior of our cattle due to coyote predation even though the little wild dogs don't pose much threat to adult cattle (another story with calves). The other day a yearling heifer ran one of our trained border collies right out of the yard under the fence. I am thinking to cow has been harrassed by coyotes and learned to defend herself from canines. Not a plus for me as I have to use a much harder dog to move the cows now.

Lars Smith

Here in France we have much the same problems. Several wolf packs have come across the border from Italy, and the shepherds are up in arms. They also readily demand compensation for all sorts of damage supposedly done by wolves. Since the person who decides if compensation should be paid is the vet who lives in the local community, and it is government money, there is very likely too much compensation being paid.

That doesn't mean that wolves don't kill sheep, they do. One solution has been the introduction of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, also called the Patous, to this area, the Maritime Alps. The dogs grow up with sheep, become very protective, and scare any wolves off. It is a great dog.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrenean_Mountain_Dog

My feeling about compensation is that if conservationists want wolves, they should pay for them, enough so that ranchers would want to have them around. One way could be to estimate the wolf population in an area, and then pay per wolf per year. Then conservationists would have to decide how many wolves they needed.

Sarpy Sam

I posted my response to the idea of co-existence over at my place. I do have to laugh at your reference to The Selfish Gene.

My first thought when I read the article was that if the wolves caused as much anxiety in prey animals as is being portrayed, wouldn't this be not in the best interests of the wolves. By scaring their prey so bad they won't get as much nutrition so using the Selfish Gene it wouldn't be in the wolves best interest. It just doesn't make sense. That's why I would like to see more information.

I realize that cattle and sheep being domesticated so long might have different reactions to a predator than some wild animals but I don't think they are that far removed from their wild ancestors to completely forget.

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