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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: To feed or not to feed? Evidence of the intended and unintended effects of feeding wild ungulates

Published source details

Milner J.M., Van Beest F.M., Schmidt K.T., Brook R.K. & Storaas T. (2014) To feed or not to feed? Evidence of the intended and unintended effects of feeding wild ungulates. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 78, 1322-1334


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide food/salt lick to divert mammals from roads or railways Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A review of evidence within studies looking at effects of feeding wild ungulates in North America, Fennoscandia and elsewhere in Europe (Milner et al. 2014) found that diversionary feeding diverted ungulates away from roads in one of three studies. No such effect was found in the other two studies. The review also assessed evidence for supplementary feeding affecting survival and morphological characteristics. In total, the review reported evidence from 101 studies that met predefined criteria from an initial list of 232 papers and reports. Three of these studies investigated the effectiveness of feeding for diverting ungulates away from roads.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A review of evidence within studies looking at effects of feeding wild ungulates in North America (48 studies), Fennoscandia (25 studies) and elsewhere in Europe (28 studies) (Milner et al. 2014) found that supplementary feeding increased ungulate survival, reproductive rates or condition in varying proportions of studies. Ungulate survival rates increased in four out of seven relevant studies. The reproductive rate increased in five of eight relevant studies. Birth mass increased in one of three relevant studies. Loss of mass in winter was reduced or winter condition improved in five of seven relevant studies. Autumn mass increased in three of 11 relevant studies. Autumn mass or condition of offspring was improved in four of six relevant studies. Carrying capacity was increased in all three relevant studies. The review reported evidence from 101 studies that met predefined criteria from an initial list of 232 papers and reports.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)