by Shawn Regan
For over two decades, Defenders of Wildlife has paid out more than $1.4 million to livestock owners that have had livestock killed by wolves. With wolf numbers on the rise, Defenders recently announced they were ending their compensation program, but it appears--at least for the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and New Mexico--another nonprofit organization will take over the payment program.
Defenders of Wildlife on Friday wrapped up its long-standing program of compensating ranchers for livestock killed by endangered Mexican gray wolves, as the payment program is shifted to another nonprofit organization.
Since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started reintroducing gray wolves to a recovery area in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico in 1998, Defenders has paid ranchers in the two states $127,545 for the loss of livestock.
Now Fish and Wildlife is in the process of setting up a board of stakeholders, including both ranchers and conservationists, that will decide how to disburse funds managed by the Washington, D.C.-based National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The program has been dubbed the Mexican Wolf Interdiction Trust Fund.
Defenders will make a one-time contribution to seed the fund with enough to cover wolf compensation for several more years.