Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

February 1991


This paper analyzes and compares 3 recent estimates of the value of sheep, lambs, and goats killed by predators in the United States. The estimates, by Pearson (1986a,b), the General Accounting Office (GAO 1990), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS 1991), varied from $18 million to $59.7 million annually due to differences in scope, assumptions, data, and estimation methods of the 3 studies. Pearson's and NASS's estimates of the value of sheep and lambs lost to predators in 17 western states totaled $38.3 million and $18.3 million in 1984 and 1990, respectively. The difference between these estimates was attributed to exclusion of predocking lamb losses by NAS S and to higher estimates of sheep and lamb numbers killed as well as higher lamb values in Pearson's study. The GAO estimate of $18 million in sheep and lamb losses in 17 western states excluded losses to predators other than coyotes (Canis latrans), and was based on understated sheep and lamb inventories. Considering both direct and indirect costs, the economic impact of predation on sheep in the 17 western states probably exceeds $50 million annually.