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Coexisting with wildlife is integral to Defenders’ mission to protect all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.
We are fortunate to share the land, water and sky with an impressive diversity of wildlife. However, because of the fragmentation of habitats, the risks of habituation and the movement of animals, conflicts between humans and wildlife can and do occur. These interactions may increase as climate change shifts animal ranges and as species recover or disperse to new areas.
To enable people and wildlife to share landscapes, Defenders equips people with innovative science-based tools and strategies to reduce conflicts that may occur with wildlife. Our goal is to foster transformation in both human attitudes and how wildlife and people interact, from conflict to coexistence.
Defenders has been at the forefront of coexistence efforts for decades, and we have pioneered transformational approaches and tools that successfully limit negative interactions between humans and wildlife in communities from Alaska to Florida to the desert southwest to northern Rockies and many places in between. Defenders uses a community-based coexistence model, working directly with communities to build social acceptance for wildlife and develop, test and actualize solutions to conflicts with wildlife.
Through our on-the-ground work, Defenders staff has seen firsthand the positive impact that effective nonlethal practices can have on wildlife species. Increasing the widespread adoption of these coexistence practices could have major implications for wolves, bears, bison and other imperiled wildlife, by enabling their populations to coexist and recover where they previously were not tolerated.
We work hard to advocate for coexistence measures at the federal, state and local levels, working closely with decision makers to strengthen and develop laws, policies and programs that affect wildlife. We engage in a variety of community education and outreach activities– everything from providing training on how to properly use bear spray, to giving presentations about Florida panther recovery and range expansion.
We work to place range riders, livestock guarding dogs and trail cameras in areas of concern to help monitor nearby predators so ranchers can better protect their livestock. We also use tools like noisemakers, spotlights, fladry and temporary electrified corrals to scare wildlife away. By preparing local communities to coexist safely with wildlife and minimizing negative interactions between humans and wildlife in backyards and on the range, we are helping imperiled wildlife rebound and expand to their historical ranges.
Simply put — coexistence is helping people share the landscape with wildlife and using innovative tools to reduce the conflicts that often occur with wildlife in their natural habitats. Defenders has been at the forefront of these efforts for decades, and we have pioneered transformational approaches and tools that successfully build social acceptance for wildlife in communities across the country. That's why we've declared 2019 the Year of Coexistence.
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Whether you're helping support range riders who minimize conflicts between Yellowstone wolves and livestock, or helping to purchase livestock guardian dogs to keep the peace between animals, your symbolic tax-deductible contribution will support our efforts that save the lives of wildlife.