Defenders of Wildlife is a leader in putting conflict reduction tools into action on the ground to reduce problems between people and grizzly bears. Since 1998, Defenders has implemented more than 250 grizzly coexistence projects. These projects vary from providing funding for range riders, bear-resistant food storage lockers at campgrounds, bear-resistant garbage containers for communities, assisting with funding and technical expertise with bear-resistant electric fencing to mapping conflict “hot-spots” for project prioritization. Each site that formerly had a history of conflicts with grizzly bears (potentially leading to their deaths) that we can secure, is a success. We are dedicated to ongoing efforts that save grizzly bears, and this is only a portion of our efforts to assist grizzly bears on their road to recovery.
Electric Fencing Incentive Program
Defenders has been working on electric fencing projects with local residents and livestock producers since the early 1990’s. In the last five to 10 years there has been a rapid increase in the number of backyard chickens in the northern Rockies, creating an easy attractant for grizzly bears. Chicken feed and fluttering chickens are irresistible to the hungry bears. Unfortunately, grizzly bears that kill chickens are often killed by landowners who find them in their chicken coops, or after repeated depredations, by management agencies out of concern for human safety. In 2010, in an effort to protect grizzly bears from getting into more trouble with chickens, Defenders started the Electric Fencing Incentive Program. The program offers reimbursement for 50% of the cost of an electric fence up to a maximum reimbursement of $500. Additionally, we provide free technical and occasionally hands-on assistance when needed. Since the program’s inception in 2010 we have been completed more than 90 projects, and interest grows each year. Tools such as this provide adaptable solutions to conflicts, allowing people and bears to share the landscape.