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Helping carnivores and people co-exist

When wolves and other large carnivores threaten people and livestock, wildlife managers often resort to killing them. But now there's hope for a non-lethal solution to controlling carnivores. New research shows that movement-activated guards with strobe lights and sound recordings can help keep wolves and bears away.

"High-technology devices are much more expensive, complicated and limited in effectiveness than a single bullet from a high-powered rifle, but they also allow a predator to live surely the goal of conservation," say John Shivik of the United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center and Utah State University in Logan; Adrian Treves, who did this work while at Conservation International in Madison, Wisconsin, and is now at the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bronx, New York; and Peggy Callahan of the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minnesota.

This work is part of a six-paper special section co-edited by Treves on the conflict between people and carnivores in the December issue of Conservation Biology.

Conflicts between people and carnivores are rising as people spread into remote habitats and as large carnivores recover from past eradication efforts. While wildlife managers often address these conflicts by killing "problem" animals, this runs counter to conservation efforts and could impede the recovery of rare carnivores. "To promote the existence and expansion of large carnivores, conservation biologists should assist with the real-world problems predators cause," say the researchers.

To help find non-lethal ways of controlling carnivores, Shivik and his colleagues did two experiments to see if movement-activated devices could deter predators from feeding. First, the researchers compared the predators' consumption of road-killed deer carcasses before and after treating them with movement-activated guards. This experiment was done on wild predators including wolve
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Contact: John Shivik
john.shivik@aphis.usda.gov
435-797-1348
Society for Conservation Biology
24-Nov-2003


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