Florida panther, © Glen Stacell

Policy Experts Descend on Defenders’ “Living with Predators” Forum

by Alex Slippen

Our nation has long been thought of as a “melting pot” of different human races living side by side. But humans and wildlife need to live side by side too. They need to coexist.

And although this necessary coexistence can lead to conflict, there are good faith actors out there trying to make it work. And Defenders is helping to lead the way.

Over the years, Defenders has worked with numerous collaborators and experts to prevent and mitigate conflicts between humans and wildlife, particularly with predator species such as wolves, grizzly bears and panthers. Recently, Defenders hosted a policy forum in Washington, D.C. on the topic of coexistence to bring many of these partners together.

Opening remarks were delivered by Defenders president Jamie Rappaport Clark, who stressed that peaceful coexistence should be the new norm when it comes to living with predators, not the exception. And she praised the forum panelists for their pioneering work in making that happen.

Wolves are one of many animals that depend on coexistence efforts like those discussed during this forum.

Following a brief video produced by Defenders on helping people coexist with wildlife, a diverse panel of four experts from various fields and locations took turns discussing their coexistence work.

First up was Lawrence Schoen, a board member of the Blaine County Commission in south central Idaho. Schoen spoke about his involvement in Defenders’ Wood River Wolf Project, which uses a combination of deterrents and good old-fashioned foresight to keep nearby sheep separated from wolves in the area.

He was followed by Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, who spoke of his experiences with coexistence projects in Florida as “proactive, adaptive solutions” to human-panther conflicts.

Next up was Nancy Gloman, vice president of field conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, who reiterated the organization’s long-term vision of human populations as tolerant, appreciative and accepting of the wildlife around them.

And closing out the panel was David White, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (a section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), who tied all the panelists remarks together by discussing coexistence efforts at the federal level. Some of NRCS’ landscape conservation initiatives include the protection of the sage grouse in key agriculture areas.

Defenders is committed to a collaborative approach to living with wildlife, and the variety of different perspectives that comes from experts like these panelists will go a long way towards bridging the gap between humans and wildlife.

9 Responses to “Policy Experts Descend on Defenders’ “Living with Predators” Forum”

  1. kathleen henson


  2. Juli

    Thank you Defenders. I sign every petition I can, and have wondered what techniques & methods were used for successful co-existence, and this video beautifully answers this question. It seems now our biggest call to duty is to share this information far & wide to raise awareness. Keep up the good work!

  3. Anita

    I agree that we need to help to the protection of wildlife and I have donated to them over the years. thank you for putting this on the internet. Love and GODS Blessings, To All of You

  4. Lewis Ratliff

    I think some more effort should be given to pointing out to ranchers, that a good percentage of “wolf” predation should be written off to feral dog packs. I came close to being attacked by one of these 30 yrs ago in Calif. We lived near one of the traditional Basque sheep herding routes. I brought in a truck load of horses about 2 in the am, & notice about a dozen new “bushes”, or dark shapes around the perimeter of the stalls. When I noticed them closing in, I made it for one of the roofs, made some noise & they left. Dunno if they thought the horses were sheep, but I think I would have been on the menu.

  5. Jaime Perez

    What a wonderful thing Defenders is doing to help with the co-existence of humans and wildlife. We have encroached to badly on their land, and then in turn wipe them out. This is so wrong. These majestic animals keep nature and the ecosystem in check. Thank you Defenders for working so hard to make sure wildlife is protected and will be around for a long time. I will continue to donate to the good work you do. God bless you.

  6. Steven Trevaskus

    Well done Defenders of Wildlife without you and your pioneering work Wild Animals would be facing a bleak future .

  7. Joseph Ogrodnik

    I would like to know some details of what Defenders is doing to help stop the Wolf hunts here in the Great Lakes Area were Minisota killed 411 wolves, Wisconsin killed 167 wolves and now Michigan is getting ready to have a wolf trophy hunt?

    • Moderator

      The western Great Lakes region’s wolf population is the largest in the lower 48, so while Defenders will continue to monitor the situation in the region to ensure that control actions are carried out responsibly, our resources are limited and we are focusing our efforts in areas where the threats are greatest to wolves: in the Southwest and the Rockies regions.

      If you have concerns regarding the hunting policies in your state, please contact your Fish & Wildlife Department, Department of Natural Resources, and legislators. Most legislators are eager to hear from their constituents. Your opinions are valuable to them, and by contacting them you can be very influential. Defenders of Wildlife will always be available as a guide and resource to states that are pursuing wildlife management policies. We believe that all regulated take of wildlife should be based on sound science and sound wildlife management principles and thus be consistent with maintaining healthy populations of all species and supporting ecosystems.

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