Livestock Operators Receive First Payments From Wolf/Livestock Coexistence Council

By Carrie Jung
Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 4:58pm
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Mexican Gray Wolf

Livestock operators in Arizona and New Mexico are receiving their first payments from the Mexican Wolf/Livestock Coexistence Council. The seven month old program is getting mixed reviews from activist groups.

The payments are part of a new program aimed at mitigating the financial impacts that wolf recovery can place on the industry. It’s one of the newest ways officials are addressing wolf/livestock conflicts.

It’s part of a larger plan which consists of compensation for operating with wolves in the area, funding for conflict avoidance measures and payments reflecting current auction prices for when a wolf kills a rancher’s livestock.

Patrick Bray is with the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association. He said while the idea is good in theory, the compensation offered is not high enough to reflect the true cost of coexisting with wolves.

"Right now a 500-pound calf is worth roughly anywhere from $1,200 to $1500," Bray said. "The compensation program is not really paying out at that level."

He added that the process of getting compensated is cumbersome.

Others are more optimistic.

"It’s moving in the direction of paying people to keep wolves and cattle alive and so that’s a good thing," said Sandy Bahr, the director of the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter.

Bahr added it's still too early to tell if the program will work in the long run.