An anonymous Colorado rancher donated $1 million to Colorado State University’s Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence, intended to minimize conflict between people and animals such as wolves, bears, mountain lions and other natural predators, the school announced Wednesday.
“Although predators play a critical role in maintaining the ecological balance our world depends on, I have come to realize that top carnivores will not exist unless humans allow them,” the anonymous donor said in a CSU news release. “As someone who believes in science and ecological balance, I understand that humans will choose profit over balance unless they learn how to achieve both.”
The center will receive the money in $200,000 increments over five years to support research, outreach and education, and to prepare for the future of the program.
“With such support, we can strengthen our efforts to ensure that humans and carnivores can share landscapes with fewer impacts to both,” said Kevin Crooks, the center’s director and professor of fish, wildlife and conservation biology at CSU.
The donor originally supported the center’s community engagement and education efforts around Colorado’s wolf reintroduction ballot initiative, which directs wildlife managers to restore gray wolves on public lands in the western part of the state. The initiative passed with 50.4% in favor in 2020.
“My desire was to support the dissemination of good science, facts and information from a respected institution so the public could vote with informed, unbiased messaging,” the anonymous donor said in the news release.
Impressed by the science-based information CSU distributed about wolf reintroduction, the donor decided to contribute even further.
The center’s team focuses on debunking misinformation and convening groups of people intent on conflict reduction and mitigation, the news release said.
“There is a lot of misinformation, and sometimes mythology, about wolves and other carnivores,” Crooks said.
Part of the money will be used to hire more staff for the center and create more engagement opportunities.
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