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Assessing Factors That May Predispose Minnesota
Farms To Wolf Depredation on Cattle

L. David Mech1, Elizabeth K. Harper2, Thomas J. Meier2,
and William J. Paul3


Abstract: Wolf (Canis lupus) depredations on livestock cause considerable conflict and expense in Minnesota. Furthermore, claims are made that such depredations are fostered by the type of animal husbandry practiced. Thus, we tried to detect factors that might predispose farms in Minnesota to wolf depredations. We compared results of interviews with 41 cattle farmers experiencing chronic cattle losses to wolves (chronic farms) with results from 41 nearby "matched" farms with no wolf losses to determine farm characteristics or husbandry practices that differed and that therefore might have affected wolf depredations. We also used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to detect any habitat differences between the 2 types of farms. We found no differences between chronic and matched farms in the 11 farm characteristics and management practices that we surveyed, except that farms with chronic losses were larger, had more cattle, and had herds farther from human dwellings. Habitat types were the same around farms with and without losses. The role of proper carcass disposal as a possible factor predisposing farms to wolf depredations remains unclear.

Key words: animal husbandry, Canis lupus, cattle, depredations, habitat, livestock, predation, wolves


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 1114):
Mech, L. David, Elizabeth K. Harper, Thomas J. Meier, and William J. Paul.  
     2000.  Assessing factors that may predispose Minnesota farms to wolf 
     depredation on cattle.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 28(3):623-629.

This resource should be cited as:

Mech, L. David, Elizabeth K. Harper, Thomas J. Meier, and William J. Paul.  
     2000.  Assessing factors that may predispose Minnesota farms to wolf 
     depredation on cattle.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 28(3):623-629.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/mnfarms/index.htm  
     (Version 26MAR2001).

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1 Biological Resources Division, United States Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711-37th St., S.E., Jamestown, ND 58401, USA; e-mail: mechx002@tc.umn.edu. Present address: North Central Research Station, 1992 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
2 Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
3 U. S. Department of Agriculture, 34912 U.S. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, USA.
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