As the human footprint expands, wildlife is being forced to find new habitat, new migratory routes, and new ways to survive in an ever-shrinking world. They are also threatened by livestock and the disease they carry. In the Sawtooth Valley, herds of wild bighorns have been decimated as they move between summer and winter ranges across the western U.S.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Adopt-A-Wildlife Acre program provides a future to the wildlife in the West by addressing the conflicts between livestock and wildlife with a voluntary, market-based approach. We offer ranchers a fair price in exchange for their agreement to retire their public land grazing leases, an approach that can very quickly have a significant conservation impact and eliminate conflict. Using our funds, ranchers often simply relocate their livestock to areas without conflict. In turn, wildlife has secure habitat – a proven win-win situation!
Through this program, more than 1.2 million acres of vital habitat for wildlife has been secured, including connected landscapes in the Sawtooth Valley.
Kit Fischer is the Senior Program Manager for National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program, based in Missoula, MT. This program has been extremely successful over the past 15 years, eliminating conflicts on over 1.3 million acres of public lands in the west and protecting grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep and even trout and salmon. In addition to Kit’s work with NWF over the past decade, he is the author of “Paddling Montana.”