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Cattle producers losing a member of the herd to an attack by a predator don’t just lose one animal, a recent study shows how the rest of the herd is affected.
Attacks on the herd by predators, namely wolves, have been a hot topic in recent years as wolf populations in northern states have increased. States have reimbursed cattle producers for livestock attacked by predators, but faculty and graduate students at the University of Montana have found producers incur more financial losses in reduced weight gain by the rest of the herd following the attack.
The University of Montana reports the recent study found wolf predation of cattle contributes to lower weight gain in calves on western Montana ranches. The calves weren’t affected by the presence of wolves with territory overlapping the ranch, but once an attack occurred, the average weight of the calves on the ranch decreased by 22 pounds.