Their study, which appeared last week in the Wildlife Society Bulletin
, suggests the most consistently effective techniques are light and sound devices, night enclosures, shock collars, electric and non-electric fences, and translocation.
The paper also reveals a tendency among researchers to focus on predation by Canids, such as wolves, in North America, Europe, and Africa. It is critical, the authors say, to increase rigorous testing of techniques across species, especially bears and cats, and in more diverse regions including Asia and Latin America.
“This paper shows that if we step back and take a broader look, we can draw common threads among the different contexts and derive some working principles to help guide more effective control of livestock depredation, and minimize the need for lethal control of these iconic animals,” said Oswald Schmitz
, Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology at F&ES.
Miller, lead author of the study, says they were surprised at how few studies had quantitatively measured the effects of methods, especially the usefulness of human guards and lethal control — techniques that involve large financial and time costs and can have detrimental impacts on human health and carnivore populations. But she also acknowledged the practical challenges of conducting empirical research on livestock predation.