Application of Electrified Fladry to Decrease Risk of Depredations by Wolves (Canis lupus)
Wolf (Canis lupus) predation on livestock can cause economic and emotional hardships for livestock producers, complicating the balance of wolf conservation with other human interests. New management tools that decrease risk of predation may offer additional flexibility or efficiency for both livestock producers and management agencies. I examined 1) the efficacy of electrified fladry compared to fladry at protecting a food source from wolves in captivity, 2) the efficacy of electrified fladry for reducing wolf use of pastures and preventing depredations, and 3) the applicability of electrified–-fladry. In captivity I tested the reaction from 15 groups (46 wolves) to the presence of fladry, electrified fladry, or no barrier within their enclosures. During trials, a deer carcass was provided in one corner of the pen, and a strand of fladry (n = 5 pens), or electrified fladry (n = 5 pens), was strung across the pen to protect the food resource. Failure of the barriers was defined by at least one animal in a group moving across the barrier. Both fladry and electrified fladry effectively excluded wolves from a food resource for short durations of time (1–-14 days), but electrified fladry was more effective. My research indicated that although electrified fladry has the potential to reduce wolf depredations, animal learning, motivation, and personality play critical roles in the effectiveness of fladry systems. In Montana, I assigned 9 livestock operations to randomly receive a treatment (electrified fladry, n=6 pastures) or control (not receiving electrified fladry, n=6 pastures). I measured cost per kilometer for purchasing materials, number of people and hours required for installing and maintaining, as well as recording observations of potential difficulties with electrified fladry. I formed and distributed an exit–-survey to each rancher who participated in the study to assess opinions about the use of the technique. Wolf activity at the ranches was insufficient and I was not able to determine if electrified fladry was successful or unsuccessful for preventing livestock depredations. I found, however, that electrified fladry may be limited by costs associated with its purchase and that the application and effectiveness of electrified fladry may limit its usefulness for addressing wolf–-livestock conflict. The understanding of human perceptions of management tools is critical to determining the success of implementing management techniques and fostering participation and cooperation among stakeholders.
School:Utah State University
School Location:USA - Utah
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:depredation fladry livestock management non lethal wolves
Date of Publication:05/01/2009