Northern Rockies Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
Wood River Valley, Idaho
Suzanne Stone coordinates wolf reintroduction efforts for Defenders of Wildlife throughout the American West. She has been working in this conservation program since the first 66 wolves were released in Idaho and Yellowstone in 1987. She spoke on the social problems and ecological benefits of coexisting with wolves in the Wood River Valley, a “sheep superhighway” in the Sawtooth National Forest. She noted that though Idaho was not initially intended to be a primary wolf haven, the populations have thrived here. She attributed their success to the extensive wilderness land in the state in addition to cultural and legislative support of wolves in certain areas like Sun Valley. Among other strategies to encourage ranchers to coexist with wolves, the Defenders of Wildlife runs a compensation program for livestock lost to wolf depredation. Looking forward, Stone wants to explore new methods that would foster a sustainable balance between human activity and wildlife.
By Keenan Hilton and Collin Smith