The program run by Defenders of Wildlife since 1987 to compensate ranchers for livestock loss due to wolf predation is scheduled to end on Sept. 30. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) will take over payments to producers suffering livestock loss in seven states.
The program will not be implemented in Oregon yet because current state law does not allow Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to make compensation payments.
Last year federal legislation within a portion of the Omnibus Pubic Lands Management Act authorized payments through the USFW of up to one million dollars across 10 western states for livestock loss due to wolf predation. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) authored the legislation.
Defenders of Wildlife will end the compensation program in seven states but plan on continuing the program in Colorado, Utah and Oregon. Defenders of Wildlife and the Oregon Cattlemen's Association are currently working on legislation to allow a state-run compensation program in Oregon.
Through 2009, Defenders of Wildlife had made payments to ranchers in six states totaling over $1.3 million for the confirmed loss of about 3,800 animals due to wolf depredation. During that time period, Oregon received $3,900 for the loss of one cow and 24 sheep.
Thus far in 2010, there have been six confirmed losses due to wolf predation on livestock in Wallowa County, all occurring last spring with no kills confirmed since June, according to ODFW wolf biologist Russ Morgan.
As Defenders of Wildlife end the compensation program, the organization plans to concentrate on non-lethal means to control wolf predation on livestock.