British Columbia

Wolves attacking livestock, say ranchers

Ranchers in the North Thompson say wolves have moved into their area and are preying on livestock, stressing the animals and leaving dead cattle to rot in the fields.

Ranchers in the North Thompson say wolves have moved into their area and are preying on livestock.

Brenda Jones owns a ranch in Louis Creek, B.C., north of Kamloops. She says wolves were never a problem until about two years ago.

Brenda Jones, a rancher in Louis Creek, B.C., says she found this cow dead on her property, after being devoured by wolves. (Contributed by: Brenda Jones)

Now, the predators regularly prey on her herd.

"There's tracks everywhere, there's scat everywhere. Our cows are nervous all the time," said Jones.

"We had a cow come that had been chewed on, like the whole back end had been ripped and the tail had broken off."

She says the threat leaves her livestock in constant fear.

"They're quiet, they hide in the side of the road in the bushes where they can't see them and they don't move, because if they move the wolves can find them. They just know that they are being watched all the time," said Jones.

She says the stress means her calves aren't putting on weight as they should. She estimates her ranch lost more than $7,000 last year because lighter calves went to market.

Conservation officer Kevin Van Damme says there have been no official wolf counts in the area but he says, anecdotally, that does seem to be the case.

"Hunters, loggers and ranchers, they are seeing more wolves. They are seeing more tracks more signs than they have in the past years."               

In August, the provincial government declared an open season on wolves in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

The decision came as a relief to ranchers in that area, who said the predators were preying on their herds, but the open hunting season doesn't extend to the North Thompson.

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan