New paper calls for national-level predator coexistence program
A just-published Perspective paper in the peer-reviewed journal People and Nature calls for the creation of a national-level predator coexistence program in the United States.
In the article, School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) conservation scientist Neil Carter and two colleagues argue for and outline a U.S. program to coexist with predators by fostering a network of local community collaborations. The article was published online July 13: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pan3.10245.
Though national in scale, the proposed program would likely focus mainly on the U.S. West and three of the region’s best-known and most controversial predators: wolves, grizzly bears, and mountain lions.
“Predator management remains one of the most contentious environmental topics in the U.S., especially in the American West,” said Carter, an assistant professor at SEAS.
“For example, Idaho and Montana recently passed legislation that many consider a ‘war on wildlife’ like wolves and bears,” Carter said. “We argue that this polarizing topic indicates how important it is to balance federal and local interests in promoting human-wildlife coexistence. We advocate for policy initiatives at the national scale to incentivize coexistence on multi-use public lands.
“A carefully structured, national coexistence program could harness the already-growing support for living alongside healthy predator populations and fundamentally alter how we approach predator management so that political conflicts are avoided,” Carter said.
The proposed program would be funded by an annual appropriation of federal tax dollars. It would be modeled on the federal Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program, which is funded through an appropriation to the U.S. Forest Service.
Co-authors of the People and Nature article are Peter Nelson of Defenders of Wildlife and Tara Easter of the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.