Defenders pledges Montana wolf money
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 14, 2008
Defenders of Wildlife announced its commitment to contribute $100,000 over a two-year period to the state of Montana for use in a new state-managed program to compensate livestock owners for losses of livestock due to wolf predation. The grant from Defenders will be used to reimburse documented, confirmed losses of livestock due to wild, native wolves, and for the implementation of nonlethal methods to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock.
"We can't overemphasize the importance of this funding commitment by Defenders of Wildlife," said Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. "For more than 20 years, Defenders offered the primary source of compensation for wolf-related damages and preventative measures in Montana. We deeply appreciate that Defenders is now helping to initiate the state's new compensation program in Montana."
The state-sponsored program will be run by the Montana Department of Livestock beginning April 15, 2008 and will take the place of Defenders’ wolf compensation program.
“We are pleased to pass the reins of the compensation program we launched more than 20 years ago over to Montana’s Department of Livestock. This program has been instrumental in reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock owners,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “We said that we would stand by our promise to help ranchers, and we have kept that promise for two decades. While we are transferring responsibility for the compensation program to the state, we are looking forward to continuing collaborative efforts with livestock owners using nonlethal and proactive methods.”
Since 1987 Defenders has reimbursed ranchers in the northern Rockies from The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust for their confirmed losses to wolves. The Montana state-run program will replace The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust, and Defenders will turn its emphasis to The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Proactive Carnivore Conservation Fund in Montana, which supports funding for nonlethal deterrents including range riders, fencing, livestock guard dogs and more. Defenders initiated the programs to help reduce the economic impact of wolf reintroduction on local ranchers. Livestock losses to wolf predations constitutes less than 1 percent of all livestock mortalities in the northern Rockies according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Agriculture reports.
To contact the Montana Department of Livestock about the compensation program, please call George Edwards, Livestock Loss Mitigation Coordinator, Montana Department of Livestock: (406) 444-5609.