Utah ag chief: Return of wolves could be problem

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A state official says recent attacks on Utah sheep and cattle herds and the slaying by a rancher of a wolf in northern Utah show the kinds of conflicts that could arise if the wolf population increases in the Beehive State. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the shooting of the wolf was the first reported since 1930. Department of Agriculture and Food chief Leonard Blackham says Utah’s mountains just aren’t secluded enough to prevent conflicts if wolves return in large numbers. There have been periodic wolf sightings in Utah for years. In September 2002, wolves killed 15 sheep and lambs near Hardware Ranch in Cache County. It’s not clear how many wolves there are in the state. A 2002 report estimated that Utah could support 700 wolves statewide.

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