BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-Idaho wildlife officials say two wolves are to blame for the deaths of 143 sheep in the Boise Foothills in mid-May. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it confirmed, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that two wolves caused what is called a "pile-up" of sheep, where the livestock panicked attempting to get away from the wolves and suffocated each other. The sheep herder reported it to authorities who found two sets of wolf tracks. Idaho Fish and Game asked the Wildlife Service to remove the two wolves but, so far, efforts to find the animals have been unsuccessful. The remaining sheep herd have moved away from the area. “This sadly exemplifies why wolf management in Idaho can be so challenging,” Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever said. “People cherish the Foothills for its diversity of wildlife, along with the opportunities for grazing, recreation and other activities. In this instance, a pair of wolves caused a significant loss of sheep for a rancher, and despite our efforts as a department to reduce or prevent this, it can still occur, and we regret that rancher Frank Shirts and his herders had to deal with this loss.” The state agency said the Wildlife Service removes anywhere from five to 14 wolves from the Boise Foothills a year. The area has had sheep grazing in it for more than 100 years. There is an estimated 1,600 wolves in the state while Idaho Fish and Game says the population drops to under 1,000 in the winter following hunting and trapping season. Around 31 wolves have been removed across the state by the Wildlife Service due to livestock depredations.

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