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Developing Alternatives to Protect Domestic Sheep from Predation in South Africa

  • Author(s): Bergman, David L.
  • Avenant, Nico L.
  • Bodenchuk, Michael J.
  • Steenkamp, Eddie
  • et al.
Abstract

South Africa has approximately 8,000 commercial small livestock farms and 5,800 communal/subsistence farmers throughout the country. Reported rates of small livestock loss to predation range from 3-13% and 0.5-19% from communal farming areas. A range of predators exist on the African continent, but in southern Africa major livestock losses are primarily due to black-backed jackal and caracal. South Africans have been managing caracals and jackals for over 300 years with no elimination of predation. During the aforementioned time frame, producers have used and/or developed a number of techniques including lethal, nonlethal, and integrated predator damage management to address predation losses. In the Karoo area of South Africa, one producer decided that a new way needs to be developed after losing over 60 lambs in a month, while practicing continuous removal of caracal and black-backed jackal. His integrated predator damage management system includes using a prototype nonlethal collar system for sheep and lambs. The collars are used to train dominant pairs of predators to avoid predation while maintaining their territories and keeping transient predators out of the area. The system has now gone into production in South Africa and is being distributed by its inventor.

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