Wolf killed in Franklin Basin after it reportedly killed a sheep

A sheepherder shot and killed a gray wolf Tuesday afternoon, July 6, in the Franklin Basin east of Preston. The 94-pound male wolf had killed a lamb on Monday, July 5. The sheepherder contacted U.S. Wildlife Services within 24 hours, and the animal was brought to the southeast regional Fish and Game Office in Pocatello on Thursday, July 8. Though Fish and Game officials estimate the wolf to be about two years old, they extracted a tooth to determine the animal’s age. Fish and Game also collected DNA from this wolf, which can be used later to determine relationships to other wolves or packs in Idaho and surrounding states. The wolf shooting was a legal act under state law. Simply put, the law says wolves molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals may be disposed of by livestock or domestic animal owners, their employees, agents and animal damage control personnel. No permit from Fish and Game is necessary. The incident must be reported to Fish and Game or Wildlife Services within 72 hours, with additional reasonable time allowed if access to the site where taken is limited. Wolves so taken will remain the property of the state. Additionally, livestock and domestic animal owners may take all nonlethal steps they deem necessary to protect their property; however, a permit must be obtained from Fish and Game to kill wolves not molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals. “Molesting” means the actions of a wolf that is annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals. Since the reintroduction of gray wolves to Idaho in 1995, there have been occasional sightings of gray wolves in southeast Idaho. But to date, no packs or breeding pairs have been documented in this region. This was the first wolf taken in southeast Idaho since February 2003 when a coyote hunter mistakenly shot a gray wolf near Preston. By the end of 2009, there were 835 wolves documented in Idaho, 70 of which were radio-collared. There were 94 packs of which 49 were considered breeding packs. Data indicates a total of 1500 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. If you see a wolf or observe wolf sign such as a track, please inform Fish and Game by calling your nearest regional office or by completing the Wolf Reporting Form online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/. This information helps the agency better understand wolf population distribution and dynamics which is crucial to wolf management.

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