Friday, September 14, 2012

Schoen to speak at wildlife conference

Wood River Wolf Project to be featured in D.C.


    Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen will head to Washington, D.C., next week to speak about the Wood River Wolf Project as part of a panel organized by the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.
    The forum, on Sept. 20 at the Capitol Hilton, will highlight projects in different areas of the country that have changed the way that human activities interact with wildlife. The event is scheduled in conjunction with Defenders’ sixth annual wildlife conservation awards dinner.
    “My role is to talk about coexistence and wildlife conflict,” Schoen said. “I will talk about where we are with wolves in Blaine County. We have a great story to tell.”

“We have a great story to tell.”
Larry Schoen
Blaine County commissioner

    The Wood River Wolf Project works to minimize conflict between ranchers and wolves in Blaine County. In some cases, project workers have helped ranchers learn to use non-lethal methods of keeping wolves away from livestock.
    According to an email sent by Defenders to Schoen, the diverse panel of experts and on-the-ground partners will present national, state and county perspectives on the importance of human and wildlife coexistence.
    “One of the most complex and challenging issues in wildlife conservation is how to insure that increasing numbers of people and recovering populations of imperiled species can share the landscape,” the email states. “Increased human tolerance for living alongside these species is the best hope for their future.”
   Schoen said there are many examples of that in Idaho in addition to the wolf project, including the Owyhee Initiative, the Roadless Rule and the effort to increase numbers of sage grouse.
    “There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in this area,” he said. “Any time you’re talking about changing human behavior, you’ve got a challenge. Sage grouse are challenging and the wolf issue is one of the toughest.”

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