Mexican Grey wolf/livestock compensation applications due June 1

Wolves in the Blue Range Recovery Area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

Wolves in the Blue Range Recovery Area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

PHOENIX - Livestock producers can now submit applications to the Mexican Wolf/Livestock Council to receive payments for wolf presence under the Mexican Wolf/Livestock Plan. The deadline for application submissions is June 1.

The plan was developed two years ago by the Council in order to address wolf-livestock conflicts, which is one of the most significant impediments to Mexican wolf recovery. The plan is comprised of three core strategies: payments for wolf presence, funding for conflict avoidance measures, and funding for depredation compensation.

"The Mexican Wolf/Livestock Council's payments for wolf presence program recognizes the indirect costs to livestock producers from Mexican wolves, including stress-related weight loss in livestock and other management costs," said Benjamin Tuggle, southwest regional director for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "While we recognize that the program is not fully funded yet, we and the Council are continuing to seek funding to fully implement this valuable program."

Payments to livestock producers for wolf presence are based on a formula that considers a variety of factors, including whether applicant's land or grazing lease overlaps a wolf territory or core area (e.g., den or rendezvous area) and the number of wolf pups from that pack surviving to Dec. 31, recognizing that survival of wolf pups is not dependent upon the livestock producer. The formula also considers the number of livestock exposed to wolves and the applicant's participation in proactive conflict avoidance measures.

"We're encouraged by how many livestock producers have participated in this program over the past two years," said Sisto Hernandez, a chairman of the Livestock Council. "The driving force behind this program was to develop something that would recognize the increase in expenditures the ranchers experience with the recovery of the Mexican wolves. Our continuing goal is to search out additional avenues that will increase our capacity to provide assistance to those who need it the most."

The Payments for Wolf Presence program creates incentives for ranching in ways that promote self-sustaining Mexican wolf populations, viable ranching operations and healthy western landscapes.

Seed funding for the Coexistence Plan comes from the Federal Livestock Demonstration Program, which in 2015 provided $40,000 for depredation compensation and $60,000 for preventative measures to Arizona Game and Fish Department and $60,000 for depredation compensation and $34,000 for preventative measures to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. These grant funds are matched by in-kind contributions through the Mexican Wolf Fund and Defenders of Wildlife providing financial assistance to livestock producers to implement proactive measures to reduce conflicts between Mexican wolves and livestock.

"Opposition to Mexican wolf reintroduction is largely based on a lack of reasonable compensation for livestock producers that lose thousands of dollars per animal depredated by wolves. Compensation under the plan will help build tolerance for the wolf on a working landscape, a factor that is essential for successful Mexican wolf recovery," said Jim deVos, assistant director for wildlife management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Mexican Wolf/Livestock Council continues to seek additional private and public funding, in anticipation of increased rancher participation and potential wolf range expansions.

More information about the Mexican Wolf/Livestock Council is available at www.coexistencecouncil.org.

More information on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is available at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/.

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