The Japanese government used bounties to overwhelm centuries-old reverence and to motivate citizens to kill wolves.
Our government must value wolves in a way that encourages us to protect them. Right now the opposite happens. Not so long ago in Michigan, for example, legislators introduced two bills that dealt with restitution and fines for poaching. The bills valued relatively rare wolves less than abundant prey animals. Restitution for killing a moose or elk, for example, was $5,000. For killing a protected wolf: $100. The fine for poaching an elk was $500 to $2,000. For poaching a wolf: $200 to $1,000. Bills such as these demonstrate with dollars that wolves - even though endangered - have less value than other animals.
Incentives have been used elsewhere to actually improve attitudes about wolves. In a part of Sweden where livestock producers received subsidies for installing predator-proof fencing, scientists found that those who received subsidies tolerated wolves better than those who had not, regardless of the number of wolf attacks on sheep or dogs.
Nonlethal deterrents have improved attitudes toward predators in other countries. In Kenya, for example, scientists reported that the killing of lions by livestock herders declined when community members were paid to protect livestock, monitor lion movements, and warn villagers of the presence of lions. The herders accepted predators when trusted people helped them protect their livestock. Using human presence as a nonlethal deterrent reminds me of Idaho's successful Wood River Wolf Project.