Washington ranchers who can show that wolves are making their cattle lose weight could get reimbursed under a new proposal. The rule before the Fish and Wildlife Commission would expand a compensation program for ranchers living in wolf country.
Washington’s cattle ranchers aren’t the first to complain about skinny livestock. Ranchers in Idaho and Oregon also say the reintroduction of wolves has made sheep and cattle move more and eat less.
That translates into the bottom line, says Dave Ware. He’s the game manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The way that a rancher gets paid in the fall when they bring their cattle from the range is by weigh — so much per pound,” he said.
Washington would be the first state in the Northwest to compensate ranchers for livestock weight loss — not just livestock killed by wolves.