A wolf was shot from a helicopter in Montana after avoiding hunters for months. The wolf had been picking off sheep from a ranch along with his mate, who was killed in November.
Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho this Spring, but a lawsuit from environmental groups reinstated the dwindling species position on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list. However, wolves that are believed to be killing livestock can be legally hunted.
Conservation group Defenders of Wildlife assisted rancher Sven Svenson in setting up alternative means to fend off the wolf, including the installation of lights, noisemakers, herders, night patrols, and guard dogs. Unfortunately, none of them worked, and two guard dogs were injured by the wolf.
“It’s unfortunate this particular rancher was getting hit,” said Mike Leahy of Defenders of Wildlife, a group that works to help ranchers limit livestock losses to wolves. “Hopefully in the future we can find strategies to protect his livestock.”
Svenson valued the sheep he lost at $5,000 to $6,000, but Montana compensates ranchers for losses incurred from wolf attacks.
Hunting from helicopter was exposed to the public as a brutal and barbaric form of hunting after Sarah Palin came under fire for authorizing aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska by utilizing a loophole in a federal law against it.Photo Credit: peupleloup on Flickr under Creative Commons license.