12 July 2012 A Grizzly Game Of Chicken Posted by: Erin Edge | 1 comment | Share: What do you see when you picture the lands where grizzlies live? Vast, remote mountain vistas, open prairies, lush green valleys and fish laden rivers? While ideal, habitats such as these are becoming few and far between. This grizzly bear cub was captured and taken to a zoo as a result of conflicts with chickens and other bear attractants. The reality is, the modern grizzly bear in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming must learn to navigate roads, neighborhoods, livestock, railways, and attractants such as fruit trees, chickens, birdseed and garbage scattered across the landscape. This maze of humanity leads to the deaths of many grizzly bears. That is why Defenders is so committed to developing innovative ways to ensure that grizzlies and people can coexist. Electric fencing is proving to be one of the most effective tools to deter grizzlies from getting into trouble with people. It gives grizzles a strong shock which does not harm them but quickly teaches them to stay away from that attractant and move on in search of natural foods. Bottom line: it keeps grizzly bears alive. Two years ago, Defenders created the electric fence incentive program to combat the onslaught of conflicts surrounding grizzly bears and chickens. The program reimbursed small livestock owners in northwest Montana and northern Idaho $100 towards the cost of an electric fence that would secure their livestock from grizzly bears. From 2010-2011, we helped 18 landowners install electric fences. Due to increased interest and popularity of this program, we decided to expand the effort. Beginning in 2012 the electric fence incentive reimburses 50% of the cost of an electric fence around any grizzly bear attractant–chicken coops, garbage, beehives, etc.–up to a maximum reimbursement of $500.00. Russ Talmo explains how to use electric fences to protect beehives, chicken coops and other grizzly bear attractants. Defenders has also hired a contractor to provide landowners with technical assistance regarding their electric fences. Russ Talmo formerly worked on Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear program, where he gained valuable experience advising landowners how to secure bear attractants using electric fences. To date, the incentive will have assisted with the completion of 25 electric fences in 2012. This program provides a solution to the growing issue of grizzly bear conflicts in the urban/wildland interface and is creating open dialogue and unique partnerships between feed stores, electric fencing supply companies, federal, state and tribal agencies, NGOs and landowners. Grizzly bears do not have to die for someone’s chicken. Coexistence is attainable with tools such as electric fencing but it is our responsibility as stewards of these animals and their habitat to utilize these tools to ensure the survival of the wild grizzly. Read this recent New York Times article about the growing conflict between grizzly bears and chickens. While it’s great to see so many people interested in raising chickens, it comes with a responsibility to protect our native wildlife as well. “There are a lot of people, even environmentally sensitive people, who just don’t realize the problem they are causing,” said Jonathan Proctor, who heads the local office of the group. “But if they put up an electric fence, that allows the bears to teach themselves to do the right thing.” One Response to “A Grizzly Game Of Chicken” Animal Tracking September 26th, 2012 This is a very good write up thank you for the info-Thank you for sharing. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?