have killed a female wolf and four pups outside
Farson, after the wolves killed 13 pregnant ewes
over two nights.
Mike Jimenez, Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the
wolves killed seven ewes the first night -- about
June 7, according to sheep owner Jim Magagna.
Officers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Wildlife Services were sent to trap and collar the
But the next night, the wolves killed six more
ewes, and Jimenez said a decision was made to kill
whatever wolves were in the area. The area is
about 35 miles northeast of Farson in the
foothills of the Wind River Mountains.
Wildlife Services officers caught the female,
found her den and killed the mother and four pups
last week. A male wolf -- also seen in the area in
April -- was not found and did not come back to
the den site, which Jimenez said was "not
He said it is not
known what happened to the male and two other pups
that were not caught, but pups would not survive
without a parent.
Magagna -- who is the executive vice president of
the Wyoming Stock Growers Association -- said one
of his sheepherders found the dead ewes in the
morning and immediately called Wildlife Services,
which confirmed the losses to wolves. He said his
understanding of the situation was one of the ewes
was eaten, and the others were just "ripped up."
He did not know the estimated value of the lost
"These were ewes that were pregnant and just ready
to lamb, so it's going to be fairly high," he
The wolves were first seen in the area in April.
In May, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal asked Fish
and Wildlife in a letter to remove the wolves
before problems started.
The agency said it agreed to trap and collar the
wolves, but was unable to do so before weather
prevented further efforts.
"While I am very skeptical of the excuse for
suspending the capture and collaring of the
wolves, I believe that a better and more reasoned
approach would recognize the inevitability that
the wolves will become 'problem' wolves and will
ultimately have to be removed," Freudenthal wrote
in May. "In my view, it would be in the best
interest of the wolves, the Service, producers and
livestock to capture and not only collar, but
relocate the wolves prior to their establishing a
Freudenthal's May letter continued: "To me, this
is akin to small children playing at a railroad
crossing. Peril is certainly in the absence of
active supervision. This is a change for the
Service to be responsible and proactively manage
wolves in a way that, in the end, will preclude
fatal take of wolves and livestock depredation."
The governor couldn't be reached for comment
Magagna agreed with Freudenthal, saying Monday it
seemed "inevitable" the wolves would kill sheep.
"I was told that was not their policy," he said.
"They said if (the wolves) started doing extensive
killing they would remove them."
Jimenez said because wolves are still under
federal protection, guidelines dictate wolves are
first trapped and collared, and if they continue
to be a problem, they are then killed.
"I'm unhappy with that policy that does not allow
proactive work," Magagna said. "But once the sheep
were killed, I would say that both Fish and
Wildlife and Wildlife Services have been very
responsive in getting the wolves removed."
Wolves are expected to be removed from federal
protection as early as next year, but a Wyoming
state management plan has not been approved by the
federal government. The state is embroiled in a
lawsuit so it can manage wolves as predators
outside the two national parks and surrounding
wilderness areas -- making the animals subject to
killing on sight if they stray outside those
Magagna said he is "a little bit nervous" knowing
the male and pups were not caught.
"Hopefully we're through with this one," he said,
"until wolves move into this area again."
Environmental reporter Whitney Royster can be
reached at (307) 734-0260 or at