“The social component of wolf reintroduction is as important as any element of the issue. . .We know how to ecologically bring wolves back. What we've yet to learn is how to bring them back ecologically with due consideration to the human and economic dimensions. The emphasis on the ecological dimension while ignoring the other two will leave us with two casualties — wolves and rural communities.'' ~ Rick Knight, retired CSU professor, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Unit and livestock producer
The Working Circle
The Working Circle model was formed in 2016 in partnership with Northern California ranchers. The goal was to collaboratively discover, test, and implement strategies to reduce the vulnerability of cattle to large carnivores in an effort to minimize unnecessary losses of both cattle and wolves. Initial efforts were based on merging rancher knowledge of land and cattle with the skills and knowledge of experienced large carnivore biologists. The effort has since evolved to a more comprehensive approach that connects-the-dots between diverse practices that have demonstrated to not only decrease vulnerability in livestock to predation, but increase ranch sustainability based on the incorporation of herd and range management combined with wildlife ecology. Today, WC works towards creating healthy and resilient wild-working landscapes managed by ranch families that support diverse wildlife, including wolves and other large predators. And, through the conflict reduction strategies, the model forwards practices that improve animal husbandry, land, water, and wildlife habitat which further creates long-term ranch sustainability, resilience, economic viability, and overall health to ecosystems.
In addition to focusing on the on-the-ground strategies, WC addresses the social challenges surrounding large carnivore conservation and sustainable ranching. We bring communities together to work towards solutions rather than against each other. We are committed to creating greater awareness, understanding, and respect for diverse values and perspectives surrounding predator recovery and viable ranching while empowering ranch families as stewards of the land. WC partners include individuals from both the ranching community and conservation community. Working Circle is an independent entity. We are a Colorado non-profit corporation and 501c3 organization established by our original founders.
"It is at the core of understanding that allows us to move to the next steps." ~ Hilary Anderson, Crazy D Ranch
Working Circle was formed by the vision and input of many people: Joe Engelhart, Livestock Producer, Alberta, Canada Timmothy Kaminski, Mountain Livestock Cooperative, Montana, California, Oregon Hilary and Andrew Anderson, Crazy D Ranch, Montana Breanna Owens, Cobblestone Ranch, California Patrick Griffin, Siskiyou County Wolf Representative and livestock producer, California Jessica Oddo, Livestock Producer, California Scott Sumner, Hart Ranch, California Hart family, Hart Ranch, California Karen Kovacs, Project Director, CDFW (retired) Carter Niemeyer, Wildlife Biologist and Author, Idaho Mark Coats, Coats Livestock, California Christina Souto, Wildlife Biologist, California Jennifer Mueller, WC Executive Director, Colorado Karin Vardaman, Working Circle Founder and Patrick Valentino, Co-founder who's vision has forwarded a better way forward for wolves and working lands for over 25 years