'problem' wolves

Advocates question investigations used to target 'problem' wolves

he remains of the dead cow were found early last year in the bottom of a canyon on national forest land near Reserve, New Mexico.

All that was left was a wadded scrap of dried hide that investigators photographed then collected from the rocky ground at the base of a pinyon pine tree.

They had to soak the skin for weeks before it was soft enough for them to find tooth marks on it.

The size of the bite and the location of the hide was all the confirmation they needed. As far as the federal government was concerned, this 4-year-old cow was killed by a Mexican gray wolf.

Advocates for the endangered predator aren’t convinced.

An ongoing analysis by the environmental group Western Watersheds Project is raising questions about these livestock depredation investigations, which are being used to compensate ranchers and target “problem” wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

The group documented significant oddities, errors or conflicting details in more than two-thirds of the 117 investigations it reviewed from 2019.

Greta Anderson, Tucson-based deputy director of the group, said she found numerous “confirmed” cases of wolves preying on cattle based on “clear logical leaps” and a stunning lack of evidence ...

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