Coexisting with Carnivores: A cost-benefit analysis of non-lethal wolf-depredation management in central Idaho
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The purpose of this masters project is to estimate the social net value of a non-lethal, wolf-depredation management strategy in central Idaho. The strategy was developed by Defenders of Wildlife to reduce sheep depredation by gray wolves (Canis lupus). Defenders of Wildlife worked with three of the largest sheep producers in Idaho between 2008 and 2010 to demonstrate and test the effectiveness of non-lethal predation-management tools in central Idaho. While the Defenders project is preventative in nature, the status quo project is reactive -- Wildlife Services, a division of USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), responds to depredation events using mainly lethal strategies of control. Using a cost-benefit analysis model, this study calculates the incremental net value of the Defenders of Wildlife demonstration project. A benefit transfer is used to derive the non-market value of wolves. By including this estimate in the analysis, the results show that using non-lethal, preventative tools can yield greater benefits to society than the reactive status quo program. The social benefits derived from the demonstration project are estimated to range from approximately $80,000 to $4.66 million ($2011). The results have important implications for the future of the Defenders of Wildlife project and depredation management strategies utilized in the ranching industry. Perhaps more important is the example it provides of stakeholders with different priorities working together for the greater good of society.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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