Cattle that graze fields near Elk Island Provincial Park are being killed by a growing pack of wolves, area farmers say.
Dan Brown, who pastures his herd near Cooking Lake, told CBC News that he and 22 other farmers who share a communal grazing land have lost almost 30 cattle since the end of May.
“We’ve had cows that have been absolutely ripped open from one end to the other and the majority of that was done when they were still alive,” he told the Edmonton Journal.
In October, the Alberta government approved a cull on six wolves that had been roaming the Lake-Blackfoot Grazing, Wildlife and Provincial Recreation Area, about 50 kilometres east of Edmonton.
But Paul Frame, a specialist with Alberta Environment, admits that even with the cull he's not sure what the future will hold.
“What happens when the greater Edmonton public hears that we’re killing wolves in a provincial park because of livestock grazing?" he asked the Edmonton Journal.
“We have no idea what killing six wolves is going to do.”
Brown, who estimates the wolf attacks have cost farmers about $200,000, says the permission to cull six wolves is unlikely to make a difference.
“We need to get rid of all or most of the wolves,” he told CBC News.
“If something drastic doesn't happen between now and next year, most of the people won’t be willing to come back, they will make alternative measures for pasture or sell their cows."
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development told the National Post they believe there are anywhere from 12 to 15 wolves in the problematic pack, but Brown guesses that number could be upward of 25.
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