Compensation for Wolf-Caused Damage to be Discussed

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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will coordinate a statewide discussion to help develop a compensation program to pay for livestock damages caused by wolves, officials said today.

"One of the complexities of a state-run wolf management program is how to effectively address damages caused by a fully recovered wolf population," said FWP Director Jeff Hagener. "Montana’s wolf conservation and management plans calls for FWP to help create a workable compensation program designed to be funded and run by an independent group."

Hagener said Montana’s federally approved wolf management plan suggests that a compensation program should not be tied to FWP’s daily operations or funding sources. "Montana’s wolf management advisory council stressed, however, that compensation for livestock losses must be developed as part of Montana’s comprehensive wolf management program," he said.

To do that, FWP is seeking to bring a cross section of Montana citizens, agencies, and others together to develop a framework for a compensation program. Incentives for landowners who employ techniques intended to reduce wolf depredation also will be discussed.

"If you want to be involved in helping to develop a wolf-damage compensation program, FWP needs to hear from you, " Hagener said.

The focal point of the statewide discussion will be a series of winter workshops to develop an independently managed program as suggested by the Montana Wolf Management Advisory Council. "The key will be to carefully consider and examine the consequences of each option," Hagener said.

For more information contact Carolyn Sime, FWP’s wolf management coordinator, via e-mail at casime@state.mt.us; or by mail sent to Carolyn Sime; Wildlife Division; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701.

Compensation for wolf-caused livestock damages and loses is currently offered to Montana livestock owners by the Defenders of Wildlife, a private, nonprofit group that seeks to protect wild animals and their habitats.