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Wildlife advocates on call Forest Service to mitigate livestock grazing conflicts

Wildlife advocates last week called for the U.S. Forest Service to implement rules they say will mitigate conflict between predators and livestock grazing in national forests.

New Mexico based WildEarth Guardians filed a formal petition asking the Forest Service to craft rules that it says would reduce the number of livestock killed by predators and lower the number of predators wildlife officials euthanize each year due to those conflicts. Lizzy Pennock with WildEarth says tens of thousands of carnivores are killed each year due to conflict with livestock.

“The Forest Service has this authority to permit grazing in very detailed ways, but they often do it without considering how grazing would impact carnivores like native wolves or grizzly bears.”

The petition calls for grazing leases to be issued in open areas that make it harder for carnivores to kill livestock and requirements for ranchers to promptly remove dead animals that could attract carnivores.

It’s unclear when the Forest Service could approve or deny the petition. The agency declined to comment.

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Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.