Grizzly bears are omnivores that eat a wide variety of types of food from berries and bugs to elk. Occasionally, a grizzly bear may attack livestock, so finding ways to promote coexistence between bears and ranchers is critical to grizzly recovery.
Cattle and sheep ranches throughout the west are often situated in prime grizzly bear habitat. As with all wild animals, grizzlies will look for the easiest sources of food and sometimes that’s livestock.
How We’re Helping
In 1997, Defenders of Wildlife established the Grizzly Bear Compensation Fund to reimburse ranchers for livestock lost to grizzlies. As of January 2012 we have paid out more than $289,000 to livestock growers.
We also initiated a coexistence program to promote and fund projects, such as installing electric fencing and finding alternative grazing areas, to prevent conflicts in the first place.
Where We Are Today
Our coexistence work is definitely paying off. In the 2000s, we’ve seen a 50-percent drop in the number of reported grizzly-related livestock depredations in Montana and Idaho.