U.S., French Predator Compensation Policy Comparison Study


Scientists detailing predator policies in the United States and France was voted the top article in “Reflections,” the research magazine of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

How clustering development in the wildland urban interface could potentially dramatically lower firefighting costs was voted top student story. An anonymous review team at the university selected the top stories.

“Reflections” was published this month and will be available at the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station based in the college, research and extension centers at Lingle, Laramie, Powell and Sheridan, at UW Extension offices and at college of agriculture-related venues. An online version with accompanying videos is at http://bit.ly/uwreflections2015.

There are about 300 wolves in Wyoming and about 250 in France, but the two nations’ predator compensation approaches and policies are different, explained authors associate professor Benjamin Rashford, senior research scientist Thomas Foulke, professor David Taylor, and Jordan Steele, former graduate student, all in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

France, using European Union funds, accounts for animals directly killed by wolves and also indirect effects using set fees per animal in each attacked flock. 

 The U.S. compensation plan pays a 7:1 compensation ratio to account for unverified losses (each confirmed depredation is compensated at seven times the market value). But a growing body of biological research suggests large carnivores also have indirect effects on livestock, the authors state. Cattle exposed to large carnivores may increase vigilance behavior, forage less efficiently, be more prone to flight events (stampedes), avoid certain grazing areas or reproduce less.

In 2013, the French compensation program spent just over 2 million euros ($2.5 million) to compensate producers for direct and indirect losses, and 10.4 million euros ($12.9 million) to support protection measures. 

State and private compensation programs in the U.S. spent $273,548 in 2013 to compensate ranchers for confirmed direct losses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s grant program awarded producers $425,000 to implement protection measures.

Former graduate student Anna Scofield, who worked as a wildland firefighter, noted the location of a house relative to other houses significantly determines how costly it is to protect. Dispersed development, which is the dominant form of development in the Rocky Mountain Region, increases expenditures more than clustered development, she suggests.

Other research showcased includes how nutrition during pregnancy can affect future generations of offspring, grazing and fire management potential to restore Wyoming toad habitat, risk factors that could lead to elder financial exploitation, how circadian clocks in plant species affect growth and production, how shade response in plants affects growth and production and the rabies surveillance role of the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory.


Source:  University of Wyoming Extension





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