Defenders Shifts Focus to Wolf Coexistence Partnerships

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

John Motsinger, (202) 772-0288 Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270

Defenders Shifts Focus to Wolf Coexistence Partnerships

As states take over compensation, Defenders devotes resources to working with ranchers

WASHINGTON - Defenders of Wildlife announced today that, with the implementation
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and states of new federal
legislation providing federal funds for state programs to compensate
ranchers for livestock taken by wolves, Defenders’ highly successful
livestock compensation program is no longer needed and will end in most
states on Sept. 10. Defenders is providing support to states as they
start their own compensation programs, and will be focusing on
collaborative efforts to help ranchers coexist with wolves.

The Wolf Compensation Trust has been instrumental in building
tolerance for wolves within the ranching and livestock industry as wolf
populations have made a comeback across the Northern Rockies and have
begun to repopulate the Southwest. New federal legislation that provides
funding to help states initiate their own compensation programs will
allow Defenders to focus its resources on safeguarding livestock and
saving wolves by preventing conflicts.

The following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“For nearly a quarter of a century, Defenders’ livestock compensation
program has been a resounding success in helping ranchers who live and
work in wolf country. Without it, recovery of wolves in the western
United States would not have been possible.

“We are pleased that federal legislation authored by Senators Jon
Tester of Montana and John Barrasso of Wyoming, and financial
contributions by Defenders of Wildlife, are enabling states with
recovering wolf populations to continue this legacy by initiating or
expanding their own compensation programs. At the same time, we look
forward to building more partnerships with livestock owners, helping
them find ways to reduce or avoid losses to wolves.”

Background:

Last year’s Omnibus Public Lands
Management Act included a provision sponsored by Senators Jon Tester
(D-MT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) authorizing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to provide up to $1 million in FY2010 for wolf compensation and
nonlethal deterrence programs in Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota,
Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Those
states are eligible for up to $140,000 each as a result of the new
legislation, but they must provide a 50 percent cost-share to match
their request for federal funding. Awarded funds are to be used both to
compensate ranchers for verified livestock losses and to prevent
conflicts with wolves.

In order to smooth the transition toward state-run compensation
programs, Defenders is offering to make a one-time contribution to help
states in need of matching funds, and Defenders regional staff is
offering expert guidance to help design and implement these new
programs.  In Montana, Defenders has already provided the state with
grants of $50,000 for each of the last two years to help get that
state’s livestock compensation program up and running.  In Idaho and
Wyoming, Defenders’ compensation payments already made to livestock
producers this year will be credited toward fulfilling those states’
matching requirements. In Arizona and New Mexico, Defenders will make a
contribution to the Mexican Wolf Interdiction Trust Fund, which will
provide for livestock compensation for wolf depredations.  In
Washington, Defenders will offer a substantial contribution to help the
state meet its matching funds requirement.  Defenders will continue to
offer livestock compensation in Oregon, Colorado, and Utah, and with
certain tribes, for one year while those states and tribes adopt
measures necessary to establish livestock compensation programs.
 Meanwhile, Defenders is focusing resources on projects to safeguard
livestock and protect wolves.

Defenders’ Wolf Coexistence Partnership
What is the Wolf Coexistence Partnership all about? We work with
ranchers to prevent wolves from preying on livestock, which gives wolves
a better chance of staying out of harm’s way. Together, we are
implementing nonlethal techniques to keep wolves away from livestock,
including:
    • Range riders or cowboys to protect livestock (a constant human presence discourages wolves from getting too close)
    • Guard dogs to alert herders and range riders of nearby wolves
    • Portable fencing or fladry (brightly colored flags strung across a
rope or electrified wire that scare wolves) to secure livestock
overnight
    • Nonlethal hazing techniques, such as shining bright lights or firing a loud starter pistol, to drive off wolves
    • Good husbandry practices, such as removing carcasses, which attract wolves to livestock, offering them an easy meal
    • Moving livestock to grazing pastures away from wolf dens to avoid conflicts

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Links:

Read our Frequently Asked Questions on transitioning wolf compensation
Visit our wolf coexistence partnership website with a map of projects in the region and our guide to nonlethal tools
Learn about all of Defenders’ wolf conservation efforts

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Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

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