Cattle and Wildlife: What is the cost of co-existence?
Most beef producers recognize the importance of sharing the land with wildlife and many producers expend considerable effort to allow wildlife access to and use of their land. However, sharing the land with native wildlife species can result in economic burdens to beef producers when: wildlife consume both feed and/or livestock and cause property damage, and through management and prevention activities used to avoid conflict with wildlife (such as putting electric fencing around hay storage areas). If these economic burdens are too great to the beef producers their willingness to co-exist with wildlife can be significantly reduced. There is currently a government compensation program in Alberta that provides funds to beef producers to deal with economic losses due to wildlife, however many beef producers feel that this program is insufficient to deal with the economic costs of wildlife that they bear. Miistakis and Alberta Beef Producers are developing a project to help better understand the economic impacts of wildlife to Alberta beef producers. This information can then be used to explore this issue and support program and policy development that reduce burdens to beef producers and consequently improve opportunities for wildlife to co-exist on the landscape with cattle.
This summer we were lucky to have an environmental science student from Mount Royal University (MRU), Lisa Boyer, work with us on a literature review to inform this project. We would like to thank Dr. Mike Quinn from the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at MRU for providing support and guidance to Lisa over the summer.
Miistakis and Alberta Beef Producers are currently looking for other partners to help us move this initiative forward. Please let us know if you have an experience to share or are interested in financially supporting this work.