Publish Date: 08.09.2016

Category: News from the University

Recently, the prestigious scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published a new research study on the efficiency of measures to prevent damage caused by big beast attacks. This is one of the main challenges of large predator management across the world. Various measures are used to prevent damage. The research study was performed by three researchers, one of them from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. Reports of the research study have also been published by a number of global media (e.g. National Geographic).  

The review of the efficiency of various methods to prevent attacks by big beasts on livestock in North America and Europe has revealed that management practices are frequently based on unverified methods. Only 12 case studies achieved the scientific standards allowing the formation of reliable conclusions.

In general, non-lethal measures (e.g. shepherd dogs, fences) have proven to be much more effective than measures for the removal of predators (e.g. wolf, bear, cougar and coyote). The tests of non-lethal measures resulted in effective reduction of damage in 80% of the cases, while the removal of predators was successful in 29% of the tests. After removing predators, damage due to predation of livestock in many cases even increased, which was most likely the result of a collapsed social structure in the predator population. 

The researchers recommend that future practices facilitate primarily measures that are more efficient in damage prevention while protecting the natural social structure in predator populations. This will reduce the problems faced by livestock breeders and, at the same time, contribute to the preservation of wild beasts and natural ecosystems. 

Photography by Miha Krofel