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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Poor construction, not time, takes its toll on subsidised fences designed to deter large carnivores

Frank, Jens; Eklund, Ann


Large carnivore conservation may be considered as successful in Sweden, as wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx), brown bear (Ursus arctos), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), and wolverine (Gulo gulo) populations have recovered from extinction or near extinction to viable populations during the last three decades. Particularly the wolf and lynx populations have returned at the cost of an increasing number of carnivore attacks on domestic livestock. To support coexistence between carnivores and livestock production, the Swedish authorities subsidise interventions to prevent or reduce the number of carnivore attacks. The most commonly used intervention is carnivore deterring fencing, and all livestock owners can apply for subsidies to build a fence. To receive reimbursement the fence must be approved by the authorities according to predefined criteria. An important part of any management aiming to be adaptive is evaluating interventions. In this paper we evaluate to what extent previously subsidised fences still meet the criteria 1-15 years after their approval. Of 296 fences that had received subsidies in the county of Varmland, 100 randomly selected fences were revisited in 2016. From this subsample 14% of the fences still met the initial criteria for subsidies. None of the fences that still fulfilled the criteria were more than 8 years old, whereas fences with identified failures occurred in all age groups. Of the 86 fences that failed to meet the criteria, construction failures were the most commonly occurring problem. Maintenance failures, wear and tear, only explain a minor part of the failures. To improve the quality of fencing, as well as the quality and longevity of the subsidies programme, there is a need for improved communication between authorities, and improved communication and support from the authorities to livestock producers before and during construction of fences, as well as more rigorous inspection when the fences are built.

Published in

2017, Volume: 12, number: 4, article number: e0175211

    SLU Authors

    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Fish and Wildlife Management

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