Human-Wolf conflict in Germany

I have found a very interesting article written in the website of the European Wilderness Society on the Wolf in Germany. Access to original source here.

The story is not new to those who work with large carnivores in human dominated environments. Some part of the society asks to protect this icon of the wilderness while others are lobbying for legal killing.

The previous research done on this topic shows that legal killing will not help to diminish ilegal killing of the species nor reduce the livestock losses. Where there are large carnivores and free-ranging unprotected livestock, there will be always a conflict. We must assume it. The goals (everybody´s goal) should be to diminish such losses while keeping viable populations of these carnivore that are healthy and populated enough to have their role in the ecosystem.

In the link provided at the beginning of this article, you can find valuable information on the insignificant economic losses that wolves produce. The wolf’s damage counts thus for 0,08% of the total wildlife-damage in Germany.

 

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There are currently 70 confirmed wolf packs in Germany. Aproximately the same amount than Galicia, in the north west of Spain with a size of 2/3 of Switzerland.
maximale-anzahl-der-woelfe-in-deutschland-

Livestock protection is the long term solution

Killing of wolves has counterproductive effects as it breaks the pack structure. The flow of experience and  learning process from the elders to the younger animals is one of the most important factors in order that wolves learn how to hunt wild animals like wild boar, red deer or roe deer. If the elders are killed, the young ones will seek easier prey like livestock. Killing wolves does increase livestock damage and human wild life conflict.

The most effective solution is to protect the livestock using electric fences, guarding dogs and other methods to dissuade wolves approaching the livestock.

Have a look at the website of the European Wilderness Society to find out more on the Wolf in Germany.

Source article can be found here and here

WHO’S AFRAID NOW?

by Jason G. Goldman

In predator-human conflicts, the thing we have to fear most is fear itself

One afternoon in September, a six-year old boy was hiking with his parents and siblings along a wooded trail in California’s Silicon Valley when a mountain lion leapt toward him. Whether the big cat saw the boy as a meal is uncertain, but the animal was chased away by the adults. The child was hospitalized for bite wounds and scratches to his upper body, head, and neck. “If the animal is captured and its DNA matches saliva samples on the boy’s clothing, the mountain lion will be killed,” wrote Steve Gorman for Reuters. Continue reading

How Many Wolves Died for Your Hamburger?

by  Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity

 

When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate?

There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry.

Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals. While wolf-rancher conflicts are well known, the death toll provided by the agency also included 75,326 coyotes, 3,700 foxes and 419 black bears. Even prairie dogs aren’t safe: They’re considered pests, blamed for competing with livestock for feed and creating burrow systems that present hazards for grazing cattle. The agency killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.

The methods used to kill these animals are equally shocking: death by exploding poison caps, suffering in inhumane traps and gunned down by men in airplanes and helicopters.

How many of the 2 million native animals were killed to feed America’s meat habit? No one really knows. This is where the secrecy comes in: While we know that they frequently respond to requests from the agricultural community to deal with “nuisance animals,” Wildlife Services operates with few rules and little public oversight. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, has called on the Obama administration to reform this rogue agency to make it more transparent and more accountable. Despite the growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, the federal agency shows no signs of slowing its killing streak.

There are two important ways that you can help rein in Wildlife Services. First, sign our online petition demanding that the Department of Agriculture create rules and public access to all of the agency’s activities. Second, start taking extinction off your plate. Our growing population will mean a growing demand for meat and for the agency’s deadly services, unless we take steps to reduce meat consumption across the country. By eating less or no meat, you can reduce your environmental footprint and help save wildlife.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-feldstein/how-many-wolves-died-for-your-hamburger_b_5535494.html

Coyote control measures impractical for farms

While the coyote catalog might seem like a practical solution for both landowners and hunters, there are unintended consequences that result from using lethal control measures on coyote populations.

My husband and I run 300 mother cows that calve in pastures alongside coyote packs and other predators. We use only non-lethal livestock protection methods and I can’t remember the last time we lost a calf to predation.

I am also on the advisory board of Project Coyote, a national coalition of ranchers and scientists working to foster coexistence between people and wildlife.

The prophylactic killing of coyotes might make ranchers feel like they are doing something to protect their livestock, but numerous studies have proven the exact opposite to be true. Coyotes biologically respond to hunting pressures by having more pack members breed, and in turn have larger litters in which more pups survive.

These packs that are fractured by hunting also leave juvenile coyotes orphaned, and thus more likely to come into conflict with pets and livestock.

Furthermore, we now know that while killing coyotes might offer short-term relief in terms of their numbers in certain areas, it also creates a vacuum in which the newly opened territory eventually draws new coyotes in to fill it.

This creates the endless war between wildlife and ranchers that has been waging for decades at untold cost to taxpayers, ranchers, wildlife and the environment.

There are many effective, non lethal methods available to protect sheep and cattle. These methods are being used successfully around wolves, grizzly bears and mountain lions, on ranches from California to Northern Alberta and everywhere in between.

Livestock guardian animals, lambing pens, range riders, electric fencing, running sheep and cattle together, and fladry are just a few of the options available to ranchers. These methods, or sometimes a combination of them, lower and often eliminate conflicts with predators.

This allows the development of a stable coyote population which, studies show, manage their own numbers quite well. They also provide a free, eco-friendly pest control service to those lucky enough to live within their boundaries.

If left alone, coyotes might also eliminate the need for the other catalog system that is now being used to control deer numbers.

As consumers become more educated about the effects their food choices have on the environment, the spotlight is on the ranching industry to prove we have the ability to be responsible stewards of the land. By forcing consumers to choose between our livestock and wildlife, we only succeed in creating more vegans and vegetarians.

The livestock industry needs to change the way we treat predators and other wildlife, not only so we can improve our reputation with the public, but because it is the right thing to do.

Editor’s note: Hendricks owns and runs Bar C R Ranch with her husband in Petaluma, Calif., and is an advisory board member of Project Coyote.

– See more at: http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/22624/#sthash.EyFmBx9L.dpuf

 

Teaching polar bears to fear humans in order to save them

Churchill in northern Manitoba bills itself as the the polar bear capital of the world and its tourism-based economy depends on it. But as climate change forces the polar bears inland in search of food, attacks on humans are increasing. Can this small community continue to co-exist with the world’s largest land predator? Suzanne Goldenberg reports from Churchill where its bear alert programme uses guns, helicopters and a polar bear jail to manage the the creatures .

This trip was supported by Explore.orgPolar Bears International and Frontiers North

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2013/nov/25/polar-bear-canada-churchill-manitoba-video?CMP=twt_gu

Fladry as prevention tool to avoid damage on livestock

Fladry is a line of rope mounted along the top of the fence from which are suspended strips of fabric or coloured flags (usually red) that will flap in a breeze, intented to deter wolves from crossinf the fence-line. Fladry are a temporary but efficient prevention method to avoid damage on livestock  in small pastures as this footage shows.

Wolves – especially older, experienced ones – are often very skeptical of new things in their environment.  For some reason, they don’t like those flags rippling in the breeze.

Part of fladry’s success, it seems, is that it is a new object that causes wolves to become frightened of passing it. Past studies have shown that fladry can be effective in field trials for up to 60 days before wild wolves cross them (Musiani 2003).

Please share this post because reducing livestock conflicts is a large part of the key to increasing social tolerance for large carnivores. Click here to access People and Carnivores Fladry Manual via Dropbox.

Source and more information about fladry:

http://sciencetrio.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/electrifying-deterrents-wolves-and-fladry/

http://www.peopleandcarnivores.org/services/agriculture/temporary-fences/fladry

http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/spring2010/davidson-nelson_gehring_sp10.pdf

http://www.defendersblog.org/2012/07/video-setting-up-fladry-at-wood-river/

Musiani, M., C. Mamo, L. Boitani, C. Callaghan, C. C. Gates, L. Mattei,  E. Visalberghi, S. Breck, and G. Volpi. 2003. Wolf depredation trends  and the use of fladry barriers to protect livestock in western North  America. Conservation Biology 17(6):1538-1547.

This scientific paper is available by clicking HERE.