December 5, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 285

More to story of farmer's wolf problems

To the Editor:

A photo of John Koski walking among cattle bones graced the front page of the Daily Globe Dec. 3 with the caption that he “has the highest number of reported wolf attacks in Michigan.”

Although he has lost more livestock to wolves than any other producer, there is far more to the story.

Department of Natural Resources records dated Aug. 3, 2012, show at Koski’s Matchwood farm:

—The fences are still in horrible need of repair and husbandry practices have not changed.

—It is likely carcasses are going unfound each year, violating the open dumping of carcasses.

—Almost 40 percent ($34,030.51) of indemnification payments made to U.P. farms for wolf depredation have gone to Koski.

—In June 2010, two donkeys were placed on the farm and depredation stopped. However, in late July, these donkeys disappeared.

—In 2011, three more donkeys were placed and fencing material was purchased by the DNR ($2,965.73).

—Koski was assisted with getting his well operational so he could water the cattle.

—In 2012, the hooves of the donkeys were overgrown to the point it was difficult for them to walk. The fence constructed the previous year was not used.

—Between 2005 and August 2012, U.S. Department of Agriculture employees spent 2,566 hours helping Koski. DNR employees spent “a considerable amount of time” on this farm.

—Twenty-two wolves have been killed on his farm since 2003 (out of 56 in the U.P.).

DNR records dated Feb. 4, 2013, show:

—On Jan. 15, 2013, a DNR employee noted it was “very apparent” the donkeys were in bad condition. The DNR arranged for a veterinarian to care for them.

—On Jan. 19, 2013, the veterinarian noted one of the donkeys had a bad infection in one of its hooves and another had bilateral stringhalt that may have been caused by a lesion on the thalamus.

—On Feb. 1, 2013, the DNR removed one donkey that “was very weak and likely dehydrated since there was no water provided to the livestock.” The bodies of the two other donkeys were later found.

—The DNR discovered a pile of dead cattle in an open machine shed and the fencing gone.

—Noted the cattle rely on eating snow and drinking urine from the frozen snow.

The DNR concluded that “Koski needs to make some changes to reduce wolf depredation.”

Nancy Warren

Ewen