Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

More bark than bite? The role of livestock guarding dogs in predator control on Namibian farmlands

  • Gail C. Potgieter (a1), Graham I. H. Kerley (a1) and Laurie L. Marker (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

The conflict between predators and livestock farmers is a threat to carnivore conservation. Livestock guarding dogs are promoted as a non-lethal, environmentally friendly method to mitigate this conflict. As part of a farmer–carnivore conflict mitigation programme, the Cheetah Conservation Fund breeds Anatolian shepherd (also known as Kangal) dogs to protect livestock from predators. During 2009–2010 we interviewed 53 commercial and 20 subsistence Namibian farmers that are using 83 such dogs. Fewer commercial and subsistence farmers reported livestock losses to predators during the most recent year of guarding-dog use compared to the year before dogs were introduced. All subsistence farmers, but not all commercial farmers, ceased killing predators during the most recent year of guarding-dog use. All farmers ceased killing cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and leopard Panthera pardus during this year, and one dog killed a single cheetah. Conversely, dogs and farmers killed more black-backed jackals Canis mesomelas between them in the survey year than the farmers reported killing in the year before acquiring dogs. Two of the dogs reportedly killed non-target carnivore species, and 15 killed prey species. Thus our results challenge the categorization of livestock guarding dogs as a non-lethal conflict mitigation method. We suggest that the conservation status and body size of wild carnivores relative to the size of the guarding dogs be considered before introducing dogs to protect livestock. Additionally, corrective training for dogs that chase or kill non-target species should be implemented, especially where farmers value these species or where non-target species are threatened.

Copyright
Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail gailsfelines@gmail.com
References
Hide All
BalmeG.A., SlotowR. & HunterL.T.B. (2009) Impact of conservation interventions on the dynamics and persistence of a persecuted leopard (Panthera pardus) population. Biological Conservation, 142, 26812690.
BangsE., JimenezM., NiemeyerC., FontaineJ., CollingeM., KrsichkeR. et al. (2006) Non-lethal and lethal tools to manage wolf-livestock conflict in the northwestern United States. In Proceedings of the 22nd Vertebrate Pest Conference (eds Timm R.M. & O'Brien J.M.), pp. 7–16. University of California, Davis, USA.
BreitenmoserU., AngstC., LandryJ.-M., Breitenmoser-WürstenC., LinnellJ.D.C. & WeberJ.-M. (2005) Non-lethal techniques for reducing depredation. In People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence? (eds Woodroffe R., Thirgood S. & Rabinowitz A.), pp. 4961. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
CardilloM., PurvisA., SechrestW., GittlemanJ.L., BielbyJ. & MaceG.M. (2004) Human population density and extinction risk in the world's carnivores. PLoS Biology, 2(7), e197.
CromsigtJ.P.G.M., KuijperD.P.J., AdamM., BeschtaR.L., ChurskiM., EycottA. et al. (2013) Hunting for fear: innovating management of human–wildlife conflicts. Journal of Applied Ecology, 50, 544549.
DawydiakO. & SimsD.E. (2004) Livestock Protection Dogs: Selection, Care and Training, 2nd edition. Alpine Publications, Loveland, USA.
GehringT.M., HawleyJ.E., DavidsonS.J., RosslerS.T., CellarA.C., SchultzR.N. et al. (2006) Are viable non-lethal management tools available for reducing wolf–human conflict? Preliminary results from field experiments. In Proceedings of the 22nd Vertebrate Pest Conference (eds Timm R.M. & O'Brien J.M.), pp. 2–6. University of California, Davis, USA.
GehringT.M., VerCauterenK.C. & LandryJ.-M. (2010) Livestock protection dogs in the 21st century: is an ancient tool relevant to modern conservation challenges? BioScience, 60, 299308.
GingoldG., Yom-TovY., Kronfeld-SchorN. & GeffenE. (2009) Effect of guard dogs on the behaviour and reproduction of gazelles in cattle enclosures on the Golan Heights. Animal Conservation, 12, 155162.
HasselR. (2013) Rabies in Namibia with special reference to rabies in kudu antelope (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Historical background of the disease and project proposal for the development of an oral vaccination method. In Proceedings of the Annual Scientific Veterinary Association of Namibia Congress 2013, pp. 1–22. Veterinary Association of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia.
HunterL.T.B. & BarrettP. (2011) A Field Guide to the Carnivores of the World. New Holland Publishers, London, UK.
InskipC. & ZimmermannA. (2009) Human–felid conflict: a review of patterns and priorities worldwide. Oryx, 43, 1834.
KissuiB.M. (2008) Livestock predation by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and their vulnerability to retaliatory killing in the Maasai steppe, Tanzania. Animal Conservation, 11, 422432.
LescureuxN. & LinnellJ.D.C. (2014) Warring brothers: the complex interactions between wolves (Canis lupus) and dogs (Canis familiaris) in a conservation context. Biological Conservation, 171, 232245.
LorenzJ.R. & CoppingerL. (1996) Raising and Training a Livestock-guarding Dog. Oregon State University Extension Service, Corvallis, USA.
MaddenF. & McQuinnB. (2014) Conservation's blind spot: the case for conflict transformation in wildlife conservation. Biological Conservation, 178, 97106.
MarkerL.L., DickmanA.J. & MacdonaldD.W. (2005) Perceived effectiveness of livestock-guarding dogs placed on Namibian farms. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 58, 329336.
MarkerL.L., MillsM.G.L. & MacdonaldD.W. (2003) Factors influencing perceptions of conflict and tolerance toward cheetahs on Namibian farmlands. Conservation Biology, 17, 12901298.
Marker-KrausL.L., KrausD., BarnettD. & HurlbutS. (1996) Cheetah Survival on Namibian Farmlands, 1st edition. Cheetah Conservation Fund, Windhoek, Namibia.
McManusJ.S., DickmanA.J., GaynorD., SmutsB.H. & MacdonaldD.W. (2014) Dead or alive? Comparing costs and benefits of lethal and non-lethal human–wildlife conflict mitigation on livestock farms. Oryx. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605313001610
MillerB., DugelbyB., ForemanD., Martinez del RioC., NossR., PhillipsM. et al. (2001) The importance of large carnivores to healthy ecosystems. Endangered Species UPDATE, 18, 202210.
Ministry of Environment and Tourism (1975) Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 4 of 1975. Http://www.environment-namibia.net/tl_files/pdf_documents/legal/acts/Nature%20Conservation%20Ordinance%20No%204%20of%201974.pdf [accessed 27 February 2015].
NaidooR., Stuart-hillG., WeaverL.C., TaggJ., DavisA. & DavidsonA. (2010) Effect of diversity of large wildlife species on financial benefits to local communities in northwest Namibia. Environmental and Resource Economics, 48, 321335.
OdendaalW. (2005) Our Land We Farm: An Analysis of the Namibian Commercial Agricultural Land Reform Process. Legal Assistance Centre, Windhoek, Namibia.
PotgieterG.C. (2011) The effectiveness of livestock guarding dogs for livestock production and conservation in Namibia. MSc thesis. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
PotgieterG.C., MarkerL.L., AvenantN.L. & KerleyG.I.H. (2013) Why Namibian farmers are satisfied with the performance of their livestock guarding dogs. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 18, 403415.
RedpathS.M., BhatiaS. & YoungJ. (2015) Tilting at wildlife: reconsidering human–wildlife conflict. Oryx, 49, 222225.
RichardsonJ.A. (1998) Wildlife utilization and biodiversity conservation in Namibia: conflicting or complementary objectives? Biodiversity and Conservation, 7, 549559.
RiggR., FindoS., WechselbergerM., GormanM.L., Sillero-ZubiriC. & MacdonaldD.W. (2011) Mitigating carnivore–livestock conflict in Europe: lessons from Slovakia. Oryx, 45, 272280.
RippleW.J., EstesJ.A., BeschtaR.L., WilmersC.C., RitchieE.G., HebblewhiteM. et al. (2014) Status and ecological effects of the world's largest carnivores. Science, 343, 1241484.
RomañachS.S., LindseyP.A. & WoodroffeR. (2007) Determinants of attitudes towards predators in central Kenya and suggestions for increasing tolerance in livestock dominated landscapes. Oryx, 41, 185195.
SelebatsoM., MoeS.R. & SwensonJ.E. (2008) Do farmers support cheetah Acinonyx jubatus conservation in Botswana despite livestock depredation? Oryx, 42, 430436.
SepúlvedaM.A., SingerR.S., Silva-RodríguezE.A., StowhasP. & PelicanK. (2014) Domestic dogs in rural communities around protected areas: conservation problem or conflict solution? PLoS ONE, 9(1), e86152.
ShivikJ.A. (2006) Tools for the edge: what's new for conserving carnivores. BioScience, 56, 253259.
Sillero-ZubiriC. & LaurensonM.K. (2001) Interactions between carnivores and local communities: conflict or co-existence? In Carnivore Conservation (eds Gittleman J.L., Funk S.M., Macdonald D.W. & Wayne R.K.), pp. 282312. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Silva-RodríguezE.A. & SievingK.E. (2012) Domestic dogs shape the landscape-scale distribution of a threatened forest ungulate. Biological Conservation, 150, 103110.
SkinnerJ.D. & ChimimbaC.T. (2005) The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
StadlerH. (2006) Historical perspective on the development of problem animal management in the Cape Province. In Prevention is the Cure. Proceedings of a workshop on Holistic Management of Human–Wildlife Conflict in the Agricultural Sector of South Africa (eds Daly B., Davies-Mostert H., Davies-Mostert W., Evans S., Friedman Y., King N. et al. ), pp. 1116. Endangered Wildlife Trust, Western Cape, South Africa.
ThornM., GreenM., DalerumF., BatemanP.W. & ScottD.M. (2012) What drives human–carnivore conflict in the North West Province of South Africa? Biological Conservation, 150, 2332.
ThornM., GreenM., MarnewickK. & ScottD.M. (2015) Determinants of attitudes to carnivores: implications for mitigating human–carnivore conflict on South African farmland. Oryx, 49, 270277.
TrevesA. & KaranthK.U. (2003) Human–carnivore conflict and perspectives on carnivore management worldwide. Conservation Biology, 17, 14911499.
TrevesA. & Naughton-TrevesL. (2005) Evaluating lethal control in the management of human–wildlife conflict. In People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence? (eds Woodroffe R., Thirgood S. & Rabinowitz A.), pp. 86106. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
UrbigkitC. & UrbigkitJ. (2010) A review: the use of livestock protection dogs in association with large carnivores in the Rocky Mountains. Sheep & Goat Research Journal, 25, 18.
van BommelL. & JohnsonC.N. (2012) Good dog! Using livestock guardian dogs to protect livestock from predators in Australia's extensive grazing systems. Wildlife Research, 39, 220229.
VanakA.T. & GompperM.E. (2009) Dogs Canis familiaris as carnivores: their role and function in intraguild competition. Mammal Review, 39, 265283.
WoodroffeR. & GinsbergJ.R. (1998) Edge effects and the extinction of populations inside protected areas. Science, 280, 21262128.
WoodroffeR., ThirgoodS. & RabinowitzA. (2005) The impact of human–wildlife conflict on human lives and livelihoods. In People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence? (eds Woodroffe R., Thirgood S. & Rabinowitz A.), pp. 1326. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
YoungJ.K., OlsonK.A., ReadingR.P., AmgalanbaatarS. & BergerJ. (2011) Is wildlife going to the dogs? Impacts of feral and free-roaming dogs on wildlife populations. BioScience, 61, 125132.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Potgieter supplementary material
Potgieter supplementary material 1

 PDF (190 KB)
190 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 111 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 494 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.