Understanding Wolf-Livestock Depredation and the Policies and Management
Practices that Affect Incident Reporting to Provide Recommendations in

  • Rae Nickerson, Master’s student, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Warner College of Natural Resources, CSU
  • Alex Few, Ph.D., Northern Rockies Coordinator, Western Landowner’s Alliance, Working Wild Challenge
Rae N.
Thumbnail Alex Few Cropped

Project Summary

For agricultural producers in Colorado, livestock depredation due to wolves is a major concern regardless of how wolves arrive on the landscape. Understanding the impact of wolves is complex and depredation data used to inform the creation of policy often suffer from scaling and scoping challenges that misrepresent the lived experiences of landowners. This team will analyze the drivers influencing livestock depredation detection and reporting on multiple spatiotemporal scales (local, county, state)  improving our understanding of when, where, and to what degree wolves impact livestock. Depredation data, surveys, and interviews will be collected in collaboration with landowners and producers operating on public, private, and tribal lands in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico. This research will recommend strategies for policymakers, wildlife managers, and funders on the development of a fair depredation compensation program, build trust between diverse stakeholders, and inform a dialogue about how public policy unintentionally shapes reporting of livestock lost to wolves. The results and recommendations will serve as a template for a fair compensation policy that is adaptive, representative at various scales, and supports both agricultural communities and wildlife conservation in Colorado and beyond.