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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A field test of lithium chloride aversion to reduce coyote predation on domestic sheep

Published source details

Bourne J. (1982) A field test of lithium chloride aversion to reduce coyote predation on domestic sheep. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 46, 235–239


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Use taste-aversion to reduce predation of livestock by mammals to deter human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 1978 on pastures in four areas in Alberta, Canada (Bourne 1982) found that lacing sheep meat baits with lithium chloride did not induce taste-aversive in coyotes Canis latrans against taking lambs. Average lamb predation rates on farms where baits were laced with lithium chloride (which causes gastrointestinal discomfort) (5.7/farm) did not significantly differ from those on farms without baits (7.5/farm). Over each of the previous two years, there was also no difference in predation rates between treatment farms (7.4 and 9.4/farm respectively) and control farms (6.1 and 9.5/farm respectively). Four areas were studied, with five to eight sheep farms (≥8 km apart) in each. Half of farms had lithium chloride baits, half had baits without lithium chloride. Six to 10 baits (sheep meat, wrapped in sheep hide) were placed on each treatment farm in April 1978. Baits were replaced at least every three weeks. Baiting continued to September (to July on two farms). Few baits were consumed in one area, so predation data there were excluded from analyses. Predation rates were supplied by farmers for 1976–1978. Lethal control of coyotes was carried out when predation was confirmed.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)