WYOMING NEWS SERVICE, Cheyenne, WY - Wyoming is keeping an eye on a project in Idaho. Called the Big Wood River Project, which takes place in central Idaho, the project is a collaboration involving conservation groups, ranchers and game managers. The project was developed a few years ago to protect sheep grazing in the area from being attacked by wolves, but in a way that keeps the wolves safe, too.
Trained field technicians use non-lethal methods to keep wolves away from the estimated 13,000 sheep that will move through the valley over the summer. Jesse Timberlake with Defenders of Wildlife coordinates the project with the support of local ranchers. He outlines this year's challenges.
Other methods being tested include portable fencing, guard dogs and bright lights. But Timberlake says they have found the most effective wolf deterrent is people. He adds that the only time they lost a sheep during the project last year was the one night when there were no field technicians with the herd.
Timberlake says there are not any more collared wolves in the local pack anymore, although Idaho Fish and Game is going to try to collar a few this summer. The collars allow the use of tracking equipment and radio frequency-activated alarm boxes, which automatically make loud noises when collared wolves approach.