Absence of losses to grizzlies prompts Defenders to spend more on proactive measures

Because loss of livestock to grizzly bears has been so low, Defenders of Wildlife has free money to go further and act proactively. Here is a news release announcing this.

Defenders of Wildlife Expands Proactive Predator Conflict Prevention Program. Grizzly compensation funds reallocated to minimize grizzly-related conflicts before they occur

Statement by Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife

“In light of the successful recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population and its subsequent removal from the endangered species list, Defenders of Wildlife will be shifting its focus in the Yellowstone ecoregion to the prevention of grizzly-livestock conflicts and will be devoting our resources towards more proactive projects to prevent livestock depredations.

“Defenders’ compensation program was implemented in Yellowstone in 1999 to reduce conflicts with livestock producers while grizzlies were listed as a threatened species. Now that this population will no longer be listed, we will focus our resources on proactive measures to effectively minimize conflict between grizzlies and livestock, as well as conflict between grizzlies and humans.

“Electric fencing, range riders and livestock guarding dogs are just some of the proven effective predator control methods we have worked to implement with ranchers. We plan to dedicate an additional $20,000 to proactive measures within the greater Yellowstone area and will continue to work with private landowners on preventing conflicts.

“Livestock losses due to grizzly bears are relatively rare in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Defenders compensated for an average of one or two grizzly-related livestock losses per year and spends an average of $1,000 annually on this program. Proactive measures have contributed significantly toward keeping livestock losses low. We expect that,with more of these proactive initiatives, bear-livestock conflicts will remain minimal.

“Defenders will continue to pay compensation where grizzly bears remain listed under the Endangered Species Act and where there is no state compensation program, in the Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet/Yaak and Selkirk Ecosystems, as well as the Bitterroot Ecosystem
when grizzly bears return there.”

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  1. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    Personally, I’m not fond of this program. I believe it is possible that the compensation program is twisted by certain livestock producers to their double advantage: they lose cow to wolves or in this case grizzly, and they get compensated for the FULL value of the animal, actually financially benefitting them further than the compensated value (they don’t have to pay for finishing, which can be as much as 50% of the profit); but the animal dies; potentially giving them status with fellow wildlife haters.

    I would like to see a study done. I personally witnessed a livestock producer purposefully herding her livestock into a location where wolves were active; this after I witnessed hearing her say how much she would love a certain cow to be killed by wolves so they could get paid to replace her.

    I challenge Defenders to defend their program; to prove to those who are interested, and especially to those who contribute to the program, that compensation does not encourage livestock and predator losses. And if Defenders happens to read this; I have a methodology for this study I think might work. I would be more than happy to discuss it.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    I am skeptical too, Mike. Some of these folks chisel and cheat. Some are honest.

    One nice thing about this news release, however, is Defenders movement to proactive measures to stop a “depredation” from happening in the first place.

    Of course we are talking about grizzly bears here, and it is easier to deter a grizzly from livestock than a wolf.

  3. izabela Avatar

    Well how about his story?

    Printed From The Island Park News

    Black bear killed after causing a jam on U. S. 20

    A hunter shot a young black bear Saturday after it backed up busy holiday weekend traffic on U. S. 20.

    Late Saturday morning, a black bear was spotted in a tree on Aspen Ridge off Red Rock Road, and soon the highway and Red Rock Road were jammed up with slow moving traffic as people tried to see the bear.

    A hunter with a bear tag was in the traffic, and he went to his cabin, grabbed his rifle, and returned to shoot the bear.

    Later that day, campers at a nearby RV park said the hunter bragged about his kill and said he planned to take the bear to a taxidermist. Those campers called the Island Park News and said they thought his action — killing a bear so many people were enjoying —was unsportsmanlike. They said he took advantage of the bear being treed by so many people.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan