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When Farmers Don’t Bury Dead Cows, It Affects Where And What Wolves Eat
 
Michigan has held one wolf hunt. That was in 2013, when 22 wolves were killed in the Upper Peninsula.
 
The next year, a federal judge put wolves back on the endangered species list.
 
Since then, lawmakers from Michigan, as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin, have tried to tack on riders to various bills in Congress that would "de-list" the wolves. These moves are backed by farmers who say wolves are preying on their livestock.
 
But now, a new study indicates those farmers may be contributing to that predation problem. How? By not burying their dead cows.
 
Tyler Petroelje led the study and joined Stateside today. He’s from the west side of Michigan and is a doctoral candidate in wildlife biology at Mississippi State University.
 
Listen to the full interview above, or read highlights below.
 
On the 1982 Bodies of Dead Animals Act
 
“In Michigan, it is illegal to have an open pit carcass dump. The carcasses have to be buried underground and if it’s near any wellhead, there’s specific regulations for the lining that has to be within those areas. But one of the problems is that a lot of these livestock owners and operators either don’t know about this or it’s just a generational [thing] where they’re continually using these carcass dumps over and over again.”
 
On how piles of cow carcasses impact the wolves
 
“Wolves in areas with cattle carcasses in these livestock carcass dumps tend to reduce their range size as compared to wolves feeding on mostly natural forage.
 
“…when you have this readily available livestock carcass dump, it’s a much easier prey source and it brings wolves to these areas and they’re spending more time around there. And we see that almost a quarter of their diet was being made up from these livestock carcass dumps when they’re available.”
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