According to Northern Rockies representative Hank Fischer, "We support the recovery of wolves in the Northern Rockies, but it's not our intent for this restoration to occur at the expense of livestock producers. Our goal is to have wolf supporters take responsibility for the occasional problems caused by wolves."
Since 1987, Defenders of Wildlife has compensated ranchers for every verified livestock loss caused by wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The organization has paid more than $35,000 to nearly 40 producers. In each of these incidents, the offending wolves have been controlled and the predations have stopped.
Says Fischer, who has administered the program since its inception, "While this is the most expensive single predation incident we have experienced in the ten-year history of our program, we remain solidly committed to offering compensation. We hope this consistent record of responsiveness brings the one thing we seek in exchange: tolerance on the part of ranchers and other members of the public for wolves that do not bother livestock."
In addition to the compensation for loss of 12 ewes and 16 lambs, Defenders paid the landowner $252 to compensate for the weight loss of lambs that lost their mothers, and another $250 to compensate for the expense of hiring a backhoe to bury the dead livestock.
Added Fischer, "While wolves occasionally kill livestock, such behavior is uncommon and infrequent. The record during the last ten years clearly bears this out."
Defenders' Wolf Compensation Fund is a citizen-supported endeavor that receives no government funding. The organization strives to maintain a balance of at least $100,000 in the fund at all times. Those who wish to support the fund should write to: Defenders of Wildlife, 1101 14th Street NW, Suite 1400, Washington, DC 20005.
Contact(s):Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270