Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed the state wolf compensation bill Tuesday. It creates a $100,000 fund to pay ranchers who lose livestock to the legally protected predators.
Aaron Kunz has reaction from those who could benefit from the newly established fund.
The Livestock Compensation and Wolf Co-Existence bill goes into effect immediately with Kitzhaber’s signature. The funds will be handed out to eligible ranchers that lose livestock confirmed killed by wolves.
Eligible ranchers are those who use non-lethal methods to deter wolf attacks.
Oregon ranchers currently report cases in hopes of being reimbursed by the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.
The group is hailing this new law as a demonstration of the state’s commitment to reducing conflicts between wolves and ranchers.
Defenders of Wildlife has paid out more than $1.4 million since 1987.
Suzanne Stone is the conservation group’s northern Rockies representative. She says, “We are really very pleased with the signing of the bill. We worked very hard to get that legislation passed this year and felt it was a very solid compromise that brought both the ranching interests as well as the wildlife interests together."
Ranchers in Eastern Oregon’s Wallowa County are among those who could benefit from this fund. Cattle rancher Ramona Phillips says it’s a good first step but worries how difficult it may be to apply for and receive these funds.