By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on January 4, 2024.
The Alberta government on Wednesday announced five years of funding to help prevent conflicts between humans and wildlife in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve.
The Carnivores and Communities Program is an initiative of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association to promote a peaceful co-existence between humans and wildlife in the biosphere region.
The province will continue its support of the program with an investment of $700,000 over five years. That includes a contribution of $160,000 in 2023-24 and $135,000 annually in each of the next four years.
The province has supported CACP since 2009 through single and multi-year grants. The last three-year grant agreement ended last March 31.
“Coexisting with wildlife, including large carnivores, is an everyday part of living and working in rural Alberta. The Carnivores and Communities Program is making a difference for farmers, ranchers and landowners in the Waterton Biosphere Region and this investment will help protect humans, wildlife and infrastructure,” said Minister of Forestry and Parks Todd Loewen in a release.
CACP takes a community-based approach by working with residents in the area to reduce primary attractants “by managing dead livestock and bee yards, and securing facilities for grain, feed and garbage while ensuring both people and carnivores have a place on the land. Initiatives under the CACP include the Deadstock Removal Program, on-farm carcass composting, electric fence installation, wildlife attractant reduction and bear safety training for ranch families,” says the province.
The government says CACP is especially helpful to producers because it equips them with the predation management tools they need to reduce conflict with larger carnivores – which reduces the economic impact of predators.