A Second Opinion….

That’s what people do when they receive a diagnosis they may question. They seek a second opinion for a fresh perspective.

Wolves were recently accused of killing a very large cow outside of Boise. That was the opinion of Idaho Wildlife Services and they intend to make wolves pay for it. But did they get it wrong? A second opinion says yes.

It all started with the headline: “Wolves kill cow north of Eagle”

“Idaho Wildlife Services officials say wolves killed a cow north of Boise, and the predators will be killed if they can be located.”  (ABC6)

It turns out Idaho Wildlife Services conclusions may be incorrect.  What a shock? This agency kills hundreds of wolves every year for agribusiness.

Their “investigations” into wolf depredations couldn’t possibly be mistaken now could they? That’s where a second opinion comes in.

The group Defenders of Wildlife sent a team to the site of that Eagle cow’s death to make a training video about how to identify wolf attacks on livestock. What it found was evidence wolves may not have killed the cow.

Carter Niemeyer is retired. He spent 30 years with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and he’s worked with wolves longer than anyone in the Northern Rockies. He tagged along with the Defenders of Wildlife videographers to the kill site. He’s also the one who dissected the carcass on scene.

Certainly,” Niemeyer said, “nothing killed that cow other than some affliction with the cow itself.”(ABC6)

Carter Niemeyer (retired USFWS Wolf Recovery Coordinator) states wolves were not responsible for the cow kill. That’s his expert opinion  and it differs from the one delivered by Idaho Wildlife Services.

”Todd Grimm is the acting state director of the Idaho Wildlife Services program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grimm said he was convinced this was a wolf attack. He also said Niemeyer’s judgment couldn’t possibly have been accurate because the retired wildlife biologist didn’t get to inspect the animal until six days after ranchers found the cow. At that point, it had frozen and re-thawed several times and been decimated by scavengers.” (ABC6)

But Niemeyer says there was plenty of carcass left to determine the cause of death.

“It’s always ideal to see it when it’s fresh,” Niemeyer said.

He, of course, didn’t see it fresh. And he admitted the carcass had been picked apart since the government inspection. But Niemeyer believes there was still enough left for him to make an accurate assessment.

“The two sites that I examined and the skin that was left at the site had an oval feeding pattern,” Niemeyer said.

He believes that pattern is inconsistent with the attack points needed to take down an animal that size – one estimated at 1,400 pounds by the ranch manager.” (ABC6)

This is called oversight, something Wildlife Services seems to be sorely lacking. I guess they’re not used to being second guessed and I’m betting they’ll ignore this “second opinion”.  A few wolves will probably die for something they didn’t do and Wolf Wars will continue unabated in the Northern Rockies.


Wolves kill cow north of Eagle



Wolf Expert: Eagle Cow Not Killed by Wolves





Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: second opinion, Carter Niemeyer, wolves, Idaho WS, cows

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 2:53 am  Comments (14)  
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