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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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We all know that the #1 reason that wolves and bison are being slaughtered is because of the “competition” from cows and their “welfare ranchers”.

    This will probably fall on deaf ears, but I don’t care…it needs to be said:
    IMHO ..As long as there is a demand for eating beef, it doesn’t make a damn how many letters are written or calls made, the livestock industry will win this war.
    If you eat beef, you’re supporting the very industry that you’re complaining about killing our predators and bison.
    In other words, it’s hypocritical to eat beef and then whine about dead wolves and bison.
    A book I suggest reading is “Sacred Cows at the Public Trough” by Denzel and Nancy Ferguson.


    • It is now known that the influence of wolves in Yellowstone improved riparian habit to the benefit of a broad spectrum of wildlife by not allowing the elk to hang around along the streams like a bunch of fat cows. What does this tell us about the millions of cows in the West that spend summers months on public lands? There is more at stake than native grasses. Cows, like elk, eat aspen, willows and other shrubs while trampling beaver dams and depleting the vegetative resources beaver are dependent upon for food and dam building materials. A typical scenario following livestock presence and beaver absence is: destruction of the dam, de-watering of the pond, down-cutting of the stream channel, a rapid lowering of the water table and subsequent decline of the riparian vegetation. Beavers, like wolves, are continually persecuted by ranchers and sheepherders who believe in the own omnipotent wisdom and enforce their misguided verdict with guns and traps. The suppression and interference of beaver populations has a deleterious effect on the entire watershed habitat and structure, and is counterproductive to agriculture and other downstream water users. For more please read http://www.okanogan1.com/ecology/beaver/index.htm
      Gary Ott, Twisp Wa.


      • Thanks, Gary…..this is a great reference piece that I’m sure will come in handy.
        Do you know of any studies that deal with the $$ value of water stored in beaver ponds and wetlands? It must be of enormous value considering not only the standing water for wildlife, fish and amphibians, but recharging aquifers and aiding stream flows in summer.
        I’m asking this relative to the inordinate amount of beaver trapping and the damage that can result to water supplies.


      • I have wondered about the total water volume available for human needs that is not being contained in our watersheds because beaver have lost their foothold especially in upland streams of the arid parts of the American West. Think on a scale of the Columbia or Colorado watersheds and realize that it is nearly impossible to find any corner that has not been altered by cattle and sheep.


      • Thank you so much for calling attention to the beaver study. I thought I knew something about beavers but this article was pure gold. Thanks again Gary!!



      • In 2009, Animal Damage control killed 27,289 beavers!!! Yikes, no wonder I never see them anymore.


      • Thank you for the informaton,Gary.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rebecca White, Nabeki. Nabeki said: A Second Opinion…. http://wp.me/pDTDG-2NQ […]


  3. From the Seattle Times:

    Eating beef makes as much sense as drinking gasoline or breathing carbon monoxide. Ever taken a close look at what overgrazing really does? Ever taken a close look at how much fat there is in beef? If the GOP really wants to cut spending, lets start with subsidies to ranchers. If we never ate another cow in this country, it would be a good idea. The only ones who would really lose would be makers of heart medicine and heart surgeons. And, of course, a lot of DoA “regulators” who can’t regulate anything because the ranchers hold too much power.


    • Right on Jerry, you are so right.

      I usually don’t proselytize but eating beef is contributing to so much suffering, I feel the need to speak out and support what Jerry is saying. In the name of the the sacred cattle industry our predators are killed, our bison are slaughtered, our wild horses are being driven off their land, our native grasses are destroyed, our watersheds polluted and factory farming is a horror and a disgrace. Please everyone, think about giving up beef forever. It will save untold suffering.

      I haven’t eaten meat for many years, it wasn’t that hard. You can start out slowly, dropping beef from your diet for one day a week and then keep adding more non-beef days. It will save our wolves, our public lands and the earth.

      Think about the decline of the lion population in Africa from 450,000 thirty years ago to just 25,000 today. Much of their decline can be pinned squarely on habitat loss due to grazing. Many lions are killed for cattle depredation.

      Think of the Amazon, where land is being slashed and burned to accommodate increasing numbers of cattle ranches. Thousands of species of plants and animals are being lost forever because of this.

      Please just consider becoming beef free as a New Year’s resolution, the wolves will thank you.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  4. Hey i’m certainly on board – I haven’t eaten meat for 28 years now. It’s not hard when you think about it.
    It is truly becoming more and more apparent that livestock grazing on public lands is the basis for many anti-wildlife policies. Ranchers seem to feel that they “deserve” a predator free landscape and perks such as a grazing fee of only $1.35 per cow/calf pair per month (!), and compensation for livestock lost to wolves.


    • Ann, if everyone just cut down on the amount of beef they consume or cut it out of their diets entirely, it would save so much suffering plus they would be healthier. Beef is full of fat, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. The ranching industry causes untold suffering around the world, cows trample native grasslands, displace our wildlife and cause the slaughter of predators like the wolf. BEEF KILLS!!



  5. Nabeki, I wonder if that DOW training video is available. I’d love to learn how to identify that, especially around where I live. I think the more people who can hold these guys to the fire, the better.


    • I’m not sure Leslie, you could contact DOW in Washington, DC to see if they are allowing access to it.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


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