Defenders’ handover to Montana fails to initiate a single proactive project in its first year-
When the wolf was delisted, Defenders of Wildlife stopped paying compensation for the loss of livestock to wolves in Montana. However, Defenders gave the state $100,000 to get the “Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board” started. It was to not just pay for losses, but fund preventative measures too. The Fund also received additional private contributions, mostly from conservation groups.
In the first year, the Board simply handed out money to those who lost livestock, and apparently required nothing in return. Now the Fund is a bit short of cash. Can we feel bad about that? Yes, and maybe they got their training from those who insured junk mortgages.
Montana media are running stories with headlines such as this: “Montana livestock board pays for 369 wolf kills in 2009.” That is not the real story, however. The story is the waste of the money in the fund.
The story above says, “some question whether it is doing enough funding preventative measures.” It turns out the “some” who question are those who gave the money for the Fund — just a small detail!
The story also fails to say that most of the losses came in a few big sheep killing incidents.
Here is what Montana wrote about the financial status of the fund in the 2009 wolf report:
The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board met twice in 2009. With the 2009
funding available, the Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board prioritized payments for
animals that were attacked by wolves and died, as verified (probable or confirmed) by USDA
WS. Claims were paid on a first-come, first-served basis. Private organizations provided most
some of LLRMP’s available funding for 2009, including a $50,000 donation from Defenders of
Wildlife. Donations were also received from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Western Wolf
Coalition, Keystone Conservation and the Montana Cattlemen’s Association. No grant
applications submitted in 2008 were funded. A total of $87,318 was paid to livestock owners for
238 dead animals between April 15 and December 31, 2008. A total of $141,462 was paid to
livestock owners for 367 dead animals in 2009. Federal legislation introduced by Montana
Senator Jon Tester has been signed by the President. This legislation provides for $1,000,000 for
wolf loss prevention efforts and loss payments in all states. Montana will be eligible for a portion
of this appropriation in federal fiscal year 2010 (which began October 1, 2009). Montana will
have to match the federal dollars with state funds or private donations. [see Montana Report, p. 43]