HELENA – State wildlife officials say the Montana Livestock Board has begun compensating ranchers for livestock losses caused by grizzly bears.

Program manager George Edwards says compensation for damage done by wolves and grizzly bears will be covered under one program, starting Tuesday.

The Montana Legislature last year added grizzly bears to the Montana Livestock Loss Program, but a companion bill to fund the program was not approved.

The Livestock Loss Board receives $200,000 per year from the state for wolf depredations. Edwards said they average about $108,000 in annual payments for wolf kills.

The group Defenders of Wildlife has committed to a $25,000 donation for grizzly bear depredations this year.

Livestock producers who suspect that they’ve suffered a loss due to wolves or grizzly bears should contact the federal Wildlife Services agency.

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