Coyotes, mountain lions, wolves and bears kill thousands of lambs and calves each year. Livestock losses attributed to these predators cost ranchers and producers more than $71 million annually, according to the most recent surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Sheep are the most frequent victims: A 1999 NASS survey recorded 273,000 sheep and lamb losses due to predators. These losses occurred despite the use of multiple management tools and techniques to safeguard livestock. Without these protection measures, livestock losses could be as much as two to three times higher.
USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS) program has the knowledge and skill, as well as the equipment, to track, capture and remove predators from locations where they are causing serious damage. But livestock producers are not the only group to benefit--so does the general public. It is estimated that wildlife causes $12.8 billion in damage a year to natural resources, public infrastructures, private property and agriculture.
For years, the American Sheep Industry Association has led the aggressive defense of the federal partner of livestock protection, by bringing together a diverse coalition of supporters in the areas of aquaculture, aviation, forestry, livestock production, range/forage management and state departments of agriculture to ensure the program’s survival.
For more information about this vital program, visit the WS Web site at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/