Live from the Conference...
Today was jam-packed with 30 minute presentations from a wide array of wolf experts. Some highlights of the day included:
A very brave (given the crowd) Carolyn Sime, Gray Wolf Program Coordinator, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, spoke about the thought process behind the Montana plan and inspired a lively question and answer session. She maintains that the Montana plan largely drew on an extensive public comment period and that it represents the interests of both the wolves, and the residents of the state of Montana.
Harriet Allen from the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife layed out Washington State's wolf management plan which is in the final stages and are being discussed by a desingnated "wolf working group" comprised of people representing the many different interest groups in WA. The plan will borrow language from the Oregon and Montana plans.
Biologist Carlos Carrol of the Klamath Center for Conservation Research presented his scientific projections regarding wolf numbers in the Northern Rockies -- specifically, how many are needed to ensure wolf recovery goals under the Endangered Species Act. His research shows that in order for long-term sustainability and genetic variability to be ensured, there needs to be a population of approximately 5,000 wolves region-wide.
A Proactive Projects Panel comprised of:
- Lane Adamson, Madison Valley Ranchlands Group
- Robin Bauer, Bauer Ranch, Phillipsburg, Montana
- Janelle Holden, Keystone Conservation, Montana
- Carter Niemeyer, Ret. USFWS Idaho Wolf Project Leader
- Jesse Timberlake, Defenders of Wildlife, Idaho
- Rick Williamson, USDA Idaho Wildlife Services
The panel discussed various proactive projects (such as some of the ones discussed by Jesse in earlier posts) and their effectiveness and importance. Insights came from both sides; the ranchers who are in need of proactive measures in order to prevent livestock depradation, and the people who work with ranchers to ensure that these needs are met. An interview with Robin Bauer of the Bauer Ranch is below:
Me: "Why - post delisting - is it still important for ranchers to work with organizations to find non-lethal solutions to prevent wolf-livestock conflicts"
Robin: "It's still important because managing wolves by ourselves is not a realistic option. Everyone loves seeing wildlife, it's fun to see wolves in the wild, the only problem for us is when they kill livestock. We want to coexist with wolves, and if putting proactive measures in place helps us coexist without problems then we're open to it."
Me: "What proactive measure has proven most effective, in your case (at the Bauer Ranch)"
Robin: "The Range Rider program along with the collaring of three wolves and the receiver we were given so that our Range Rider can monitor where they are at all times has made a big difference in depradation numbers."
Tomorrow will feature a panel on delisting which is sure to inspire many questions. Feel free to check out the conference agenda.