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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Non-lethal radio activated guard for deterring wolf depredation in Idaho: summary and call for research


With the reestablishment of wolves in the western United States, managing adverse interactions between wolves and livestock is re-emerging as an issue for resource managers. Lethal control of wolves is often difficult to implement due to the constraints of the Endangered Species Act, predator population goals, and public disfavor for lethal control. In response to the need to manage wolf predation in a non-lethal manner, we developed and tested a behavior contingent system for disrupting predation events. The Avian Systems Model 9000 Frightening System, also called a Radio Activated Guard (RAG), is activated by signals from nearby wolf radio collars. The strobe light, tape player with 30 different recorded sound effects, and behaviorally contingent activation are designed to minimize habituation to the system. Based on studies in Idaho, we believe RAG boxes are effective for protecting livestock in small pasture situations. Limitations of the scare device include electronic complexity, area coverage, and price. We continue to develop and test the limitations of their effective use in ongoing experimental research.

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