Coexistence with Large Carnivores Supported by a Predator-Compensation Program

Abstract

Compensation programs are used globally to increase tolerance for and help offset economic loss caused by large carnivores. Compensation program funding comes from a variety of sources, and in Wyoming and Idaho, USA and Alberta, Canada this includes revenue from hunting and fishing license sales. We review the patterns of livestock depredation and compensation costs of Alberta’s predator-compensation program, and compare Alberta’s program to compensation programs in neighboring Canadian and American jurisdictions. Current compensation costs in Alberta are well below historic levels, but have been rapidly increasing in recent years due to an increase in depredation events coupled with increased cattle prices. That increase has caused push back from Alberta’s hunting and fishing community that finances the compensation program, although less than 3.6% of Alberta’s license levy dollars are used for predator compensation. Hunting effort in Alberta is highest on the same privately owned lands with livestock depredation problems, suggesting that private lands support habitats for hunted ungulate species as well as carnivores. Although compensation programs do not prevent depredation events themselves, compensation programs effectively can support the maintenance of wildlife habitats on private lands.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Alberta Conservation Association for access to the predator compensation data. Thanks to the Alberta Government for access to hunting effort data as well as background shapefiles used to make the maps. A. Morehouse was supported by a grant from Shell Canada. M. Boyce acknowledges continuing support from the Alberta Conservation Association and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We thank Todd Zimmerling, Adam Ford, and an anonymous reviewer who provided helpful feedback earlier versions of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Andrea T. Morehouse.

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Morehouse, A.T., Tigner, J. & Boyce, M.S. Coexistence with Large Carnivores Supported by a Predator-Compensation Program. Environmental Management 61, 719–731 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0994-1

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Keywords

  • Alberta
  • Compensation
  • Depredation
  • Human-wildlife conflicts
  • Livestock
  • Predator