To help stop $1 million losses to county sheep ranchers, aquaculture and farmers from coyotes, birds and rabbits, the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday directed county staff to find funding sources to pay for a full-time wildlife depredation specialist.
Several people from the livestock and farming community asked the board to help with the efforts.
Holtville-area sheep rancher Michel Ihidoy said the problem of coyotes killing lambs is getting worse every year, particularly since steel traps were outlawed. He said he's lost about 440 lambs to coyotes in the last year, and the Imperial Irrigation District has had to shut down canals to remove dead lambs from them
"Coyotes today are too lazy to chase rabbits," he said.
George Ray, owner/operator of Fish Producers, a catfish farm near Niland, said hundreds of birds are drawn to the farm. He said birds such as cormorants, herons and pelicans eat the fish and spread diseases while other birds eat the fish food.