Ending Our War with Wolves, Bears, Bobcats and Coyotes

Sep 29, 2015

As agriculture and new construction in Iowa continue to expand and occupy Iowa's wildlife habitat, humans are in contact with predators like coyotes more and more. Like a caller said today during the our broadcast, one of the ways to handle that problem is to kill the predators that threaten domestic pets and backyard chickens. 

But author John Shivik says there’s another way. “Moving forward, we need to balance lethal versus non-lethal methods of dealing with predators. We can biologically deal with the issue instead of killing them to make ourselves feel better.”  

This hour on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Shivik about our relationship with predators like wolves, bears, cougars and coyotes. He writes about our complex relationship with such animals in his book “The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars and Coyotes.” 

Then, Rebecca Christoffl, an extension wildlife expert from Iowa State University talks with Nebbe about the predators we encounter in Iowa. In February, a hunter killed the first gray wolf seen in the state in nearly 90 years. She says there is reason so expect to see more of these sorts of large predators in the future. “As wolf populations start to rebuild themselves in places like Wisconsin, younger males migrate to other places. There is an intense social hierarchy. Wolves probably won’t establish themselves in Iowa, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we started to have more sightings.”

Christoffl notes that wolves, like bears and mountain lions, don’t have conservation status, meaning there are no laws protecting them from hunting or poaching.

This program originally aired on June 4, 2014.