Groups help Montana ranchers live with wolves
Written byLESLIE KAUFMAN, New York Times
The dynamic between ranchers and conservationists has begun to change, and a fourth-generation rancher, Dean B. Peterson, is surprised to find himself acting as a grudging mediator.
The turning point came early this year as lawmakers from some Western states were demanding that the government remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list, and cede control of the animal in Montana and Idaho to state governments. In April, they succeeded by attaching a rider to a budget bill.
Aghast, some environmental groups had a moment of reckoning. Had they gone too far in using the Endangered Species Act as a cudgel instead of forging compromises with ranchers?
So a handful began reaching out to ranchers, offering them money and tools to fend off wolves without killing them. And some ranchers, mindful that tough federal restrictions could be reimposed if wolf numbers dwindle again, have been listening. Tentative partnerships are cropping up, and a few that already existed are looking to expand.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE