Provide diversionary feeding for predators

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on potential prey mammals of providing diversionary feeding for predators. This study was in Canada.




About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A controlled, before-and-after study in 2008–2011 in four boreal forest, peatland and heath sites in Newfoundland, Canada (Lewis et al. 2017) found that diversionary feeding of predators appeared to increase woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus calf survival. However, the significance of the intervention was not explicitly tested. Caribou calf survival during diversionary feeding (70-day survival: 23%; 182-day survival: 14%) appeared to be higher than before diversionary feeding commenced (70-day survival: 9%; 182-day survival: 7%) though there was high variability in these data. Survival rates across these two periods at sites without diversionary feeding were stable (70-day survival: 56–59%; 182-day survival: 41–47%). Supplementary food was mostly taken by American black bears Ursus americanus which, along with coyotes Canis latrans, were the most frequent confirmed predators of caribou calves. At one site, 500-kg bags of bakery waste were distributed in a grid of 4.5 × 4.3-km quadrats, covering most of the caribou calving area. Food was provided from before 25 May until mid-July in 2010 and 2011 and was replenished weekly as required. In 2011, food was supplemented with beaver Castor canadensis carcasses. Three other caribou calving sites received no supplementary food. Across all sites, 313 caribou calves were radio-collared in late May to early June of 2008–2011, when 1–5 days old, and were monitored by radio-tracking through to November.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation - Published 2020

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust