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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Predictability of repeated carnivore attacks on livestock favours reactive use of mitigation measures

Karlsson, Jens; Johansson, Örjan


Summary 1. Predation on livestock is one of the main reasons for low tolerance against large carnivores in many parts of the world. Measures to reduce the conflicts have been developed, but resources for using them are often scarce. If wildlife managers as well as farmers learn more about when the risk of predation on livestock is higher, they will be able to make more effective use of resources for reducing predation. 2. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the risk of predation on livestock immediately after an attack is higher on the affected farm compared with other farms in the same area. Data on sheep predation by brown bear Ursus arctos, lynx Lynx lynx and wolf Canis lupus in Sweden 1998–2006 were used in the analysis. 3. Ondepredatedfarmstherewasapproximatelya55timeshigherriskforarepeatpredationevent within 12 months compared to any other farm in the same area. During the first 5 weeks, 63%, 60% and 50% of the repeat attacks had occurred. 4. Wesuggestthatthemainmechanismbehindrepeatattacksonlivestockisthatcarnivoresreturn to the kill site to feed on carrion. Where livestock are still present and unprotected at the kill site when the carnivore returns, the farms will suffer a higher likelihood of a further attack compared to livestock on other farms. This study uses data from Sweden but we argue that the pattern will be the same in any part of the world where the ranges of livestock and large carnivores overlap. 4. Synthesis and applications. As the risk of an attack is higher directly after an initial attack, it will be more cost-effective to implement measures designed to reduce livestock predation by large carni- vores at that time, i.e. within the following 5 weeks. Temporary proactive measures are usually simpler and cheaper than permanent deterrents and we recommend their use wherever resources are limited.



Published in

Journal of Applied Ecology
2010, volume: 47, number: 1, pages: 166-171

Authors' information

Karlsson, Jens (Frank, Jens)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Biological Topics

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