The Phantom Hill Pack in Mid-Winter

The Phantom Hill Pack in Mid-Winter

By Mike Stevens, Lava Lake President

Since 2002, Lava Lake has lived with wolves. Reintroduced into Idaho in 1996, wolves have made an extraordinary comeback, both in terms of their numbers and the large area into which they have dispersed. The rapid growth and geographic expansion of wolves has led to a huge amount of conflict between hunters, ranchers, and environmentalists.

Lava Lake has experienced three separate depredation incidents where we have lost ewes, lambs, and guard dogs to wolves. Consistent with our mission to restore and protect native ecosystems, we believe that wolves play an important ecological role and, yet, we are faced with the need to protect our sheep from harm. Also, many of our customers feel very strongly about the value of wolves. How to resolve this apparent impasse?

We have worked with Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Services, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 2002 to develop and implement proactive, nonlethal ways to keep both our sheep and wolves alive.

Band of Lava Lake Sheep in Fladry Corral

Band of Lava Lake Sheep in Fladry Corral

This work reached a new level in 2008 with the establishment of the Wood River Wolf Project. The success of this Project in enabling us and our neighboring ranchers to safely graze our sheep while coming into daily contact with the Phantom Hill wolf pack ranks as one of the most rewarding experiences we have had.

We are working with Defenders of Wildlife to ensure that the project goes forward again in 2009.

To read more, go to http://www.conservationregistry.org/projects/1710.

And, remember to buy our lamb at www.lavalakelamb.com. All profits from the sales of Lava Lake Lamb support our science and conservation work, including our work to ensure sheep and wolves can coexist.

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