Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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Idaho's wolf recovery monitor says creative new approaches must be taken to handle increasing conflicts between reintroduced wolves and humans if restoration of the endangered predator is to be successful. "We can't blindly go forward the way it is," Curt Mack said. "If the end result of problem wolves keeps becoming the elimination of packs, its going to be really difficult to recover wolves." He said the wolf program is foundering because of general frustration with rules that govern endangered gray wolf management. Environmentalists grouse over wolves being killed after attacking livestock while ranchers tire of trying to protect their stock from the transplanted wolves and their offspring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nez Perce Tribe, which oversees the Idaho recovery effort, have been trying to reconcile the two groups while pressing ahead with the recovery program. "No one's happy," Mack said. "The wolves are dead and we spent a lot of money." Wolf managers should consider using negative reinforcement like electronic scare devices, shock collars or tainted meat that induces nausea to control wolves in areas where conflicts with humans or stock are likely, he said. Ranchers could also be compensated up front for anticipated livestock losses or alternate grazing areas could be found.