An Assessment of Rancher Perspectives on the Livestock Compensation Program for the Mexican Gray Wolf in the Southwestern United States
Vynne, Stacy, 1979-
Governments and nonprofit organizations use compensation programs to offset the costs of livestock lost to endangered predator species. Both the conservation community and compensation recipients debate the value of such programs and whether they build tolerance for predators. Using surveys of ranchers and interviews with key stakeholders, I assess a program to compensate ranchers in the southwestern United States for livestock lost due to the reintroduced Mexican gray wolves. Results demonstrate that the current compensation program is ineffective because historical, cultural, and social barriers limit the program's ability to offset economic losses and the willingness of ranching communities to tolerate wolves. Improving the compensation program requires increased outreach to communities, greater collaboration among stakeholders and establishment of additional complementary programs that reduce livestock losses and provide incentives for Mexican wolf conservation.