by ALLEN BEST – MTN TOWN NEWS SERVICE
JACKSON, Wyo.—Wolves have been somewhat commonplace in a subdivision on the edge of Jackson, just five minutes from downtown. To the dismay of some, federal wildlife officials expected to kill the animals.
The Jackson Hole News&Guide reports that one of the homeowners in the Indian Trails subdivision posted video footage on YouTube of the wolves traveling within 30 feet of his home. James Peck told the newspaper that the wolves seemed to be using his property to travel from one space to another.
“They appeared to avoid humans,” he said. “They weren’t sniffing around the deck.”
Suzanne Stone, from Defenders of Wildlife, said hazing has succeeded in chasing wolves from residential areas near Ketchum, Idaho.
But hazing in that sort of situation rarely succeeds, said Mike Jimenez, wolf manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said his agency will use a helicopter and tranquilizer darts to track and capture three or four wolves that have been near homes. They would then be given a lethal injection.
Residents of the subdivisions where the wolves were seen say they don’t like to see the predators killed, but understand that Jimenez made the decision to err on the side of human safety.
Wildlife managers say acceptable ecosystem niches for wolves are already occupied in the region, and hence there is no place to transplant the too-close-for-comfort wolves.