Use dogs to guard crops to reduce human-wildlife conflict
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Dogs Canis lupus familiaris are frequently used to guard livestock but this intervention covers the use of dogs to deter herbivores from damaging crops. If successful, this could reduce incentives for carrying out lethal control on crop-raiding mammal species.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated study in 1995–1996 in agricultural fields surrounded by savanna in Sebungwe, Zimbabwe (Osborn 2002) found that African elephants Loxodonta africana took longer to be repelled from agricultural fields when scared only by people with dogs Canis lupus familiaris than by combinations of people, dogs, slingshots, drums, burning sticks, large fires and when sprayed with capsicum. Relative effects of the individual deterrents cannot be separated. Elephants were repelled more slowly when scared by one person with dogs (14 minutes) than when scared by people with dogs and slingshots, drums and burning sticks (10 minutes), by people with dogs, drums and large fires (4 minutes) or when sprayed with capsicum oleoresin (2 minutes). The study was conducted in communal lands surrounding a research area. Attempts were made to deter elephants raiding crops, 15 times by one person with dogs, 11 times by 4–7 people with dogs, drums and large fires, 11 times by 2–3 people with dogs and slingshots, drums and burning sticks and 18 times using a spray with 10% capsicum oleoresin. Behavioural responses were monitored using a monocular. Distance between elephants and farmers was 20–40 m. Tests were conducted between 18:30 and 06:30 h. The number of fields was not reported.Study and other actions tested