The president of a national organization pushing wolf recovery efforts in the Northern Rockies says support for reintroducing wolves in Yellowstone National Park is growing.

"I don't think we're far away at all from seeing wolves in Yellowstone," said M. Rupert Cutler of the Defenders of Wildlife, "but we're trying to be patient about it."The patient part includes efforts to have a $100,000 compensation fund in place so livestock owners could be paid for losses to wolves, support of a $200,000 congressional appropriation for the National Park Service to study the impacts of wolf reintroduction, and educational projects about wolves and humans.

Hank Fischer, Defenders field representative in Missoula, said the organization has raised more than $15,000 for the compensation fund so far. The total of $100,000 would be used over a 30-year period, he said.

"We don't expect ranchers' losses to be high," Cutler said. "... But we're willing to put our money where our mouth is."

The compensation program worked well when ranchers lost livestock to wolves near Glacier National Park last year, he said.