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Fladry protects wolves and livestock in Teanaway

May 16, 2014

A non-lethal wolf mitigation tool that's centuries-old is helping prevent wolf-livestock conflict in the Teanaway Valley this spring. And Conservation Northwest staff and volunteers were happy to lend a hand to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to put it in place.

Fladry protects wolves and livestock in Teanaway

Jay Kehne of Conservation Northwest hanging fladry in the Teanaway Valley. Photo: CG.

Non-lethal tool prevents depredation while calves are reared

They may look like nothing but hundreds of brightly waving ribbons, but fladry is a centuries-old method of preventing wolves from preying on cows, sheep, and other livestock.

Strung around pastures or corrals, the ribbons temporarily spook the wolves and deter them from entering. And it’s a particularly effective tool while rearing calves that might otherwise be an attractive meal for the big carnivores.

With a local rancher planning to move 200 pairs of cows and calves into a pasture in the Teanaway Valley, Conservation Northwest staff and volunteers teamed up with biologists and conflict specialists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) last week to string nearly two miles of fladry.

“The reason to do the fladry is to get some time,” said WDFW biologist William Moore. “It’s time when the cattle are most vulnerable; it gives them a couple weeks to keep wolves out. And once they’re (the calves) a couple weeks older, deer fawns and elk calves will be hitting the ground and more food resources for the wolves will be available.”

Biologist Moore said he’s hopeful the fladry will help alleviate any wolf – livestock problems in the Teanaway this spring.

Placing support stakes along the route and stringing long lines of fladry around the pasture, over thick brush and down to the Teanaway River was no easy task. But with the help our enthusiastic volunteers and staff, as well as some spectacular sunny weather from mother nature, our crew made quick work of the job.

“We talk a lot about wolf restoration and using non-lethal methods to decrease conflicts with ranchers and livestock. Well this is a perfect example of that, and it’s important that we’re out here doing it,” said Alison Huyett, Conservation Northwest wildlife monitoring coordinator.

The Teanaway wolves are one of Washington’s most recently established packs, with six confirmed members including a breeding pair active in the picturesque Teanaway Valley and the surrounding mountains north of Cle Elum.

Conservation Northwest has been a leader in the restoration of gray wolves in Washington state, actively raising funds for range riders and other wolf-livestock conflict prevention programs, and working closely with ranchers, hunters, recreationists, the WDFW and other partners on the state’s wolf recovery plan.

Biologist Moore said he’s hopeful the fladry will help alleviate any wolf – livestock problems in the Teanaway this spring.

Interested in helping out on the next Conservation Northwest field project? We’re always looking for volunteers! Click here to sign up.

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