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Saddling Up For Wolf Conservation

In the first of 3 posts I want to look into the different non lethal tactics that have been proven to reduce the interactions between wolves and livestock.  As requested by Monica, the first coexistence program we will look at will be range riders.  Range riders have been around for over 15 years, almost as long as the wolves have been in the Yellowstone area  They consist of a group of men and women that acknowledge the risks and hardships that some ranchers are facing with the reintroduction of wolves and want to help find long term non lethal solutions to help foster the coexistence of humans and wolves.  Range riders spend their days and sometimes nights riding on the outskirts of livestock grazing areas to look for signs of predator activity.  If activity is higher than usual, they work with the ranchers to move the livestock to a safer area.  They also observe the livestock to make sure they are not sick or injured.  If they determine that one of the animals is not healthy, they alert the ranchers so they can take the sick or injured animal out of the herd.  They do this to take any temptation away from the wolves to use the opportunity to attack the weakened animal.   The two most recognized employers of range riders are Keystone Conservation and Defenders of Wildlife.  With the help of range riders, these and other conservation groups are able to gather helpful information on the habits and behaviors of wolves near livestock which have lead to even better wolf management programs.  Without these dedicated individuals, the reintroduction of wolves would have had a harder time getting the support of local ranchers.  Even though there are still many ranchers who oppose the wolves, many have had their minds changed because of the work done by the Range Riders.

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2 responses to “Saddling Up For Wolf Conservation

  1. Awesome! Just awesome, Josh. Such devotion. And the ending quote, “only the mountain…” We have to find a way, and these range riders are doing it. I want to do more – how do I join up? (I don’t really ride a horse, so give me something else to do.)

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