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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Dead or alive? Comparing costs and benefits of lethal and non-lethal human-wildlife conflict mitigation on livestock farms

Published source details

McManus J.S., Dickman A.J., Gaynor D., Smuts B.H. & Macdonald B.W. (2015) Dead or alive? Comparing costs and benefits of lethal and non-lethal human-wildlife conflict mitigation on livestock farms. Oryx, 49, 687-695


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

Fit livestock with protective collars to reduce risk of predation by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, before-and-after study in 2006–2009 of seven livestock farms in savanna and shrubland in Eastern Cape, South Africa (McManus et al. 2015) found that using livestock protection collars reduced livestock fatalities caused by predators, compared to the rate when predators were controlled by lethal means. Results were not tested for statistical significance. When livestock collars were used, 1–12% of livestock were killed each year by predators. When not using livestock collars but, instead, carrying out lethal predator control, 6–31% of livestock were killed. Costs of using livestock collars (3.5 USD/livestock animal) were comparable to those of lethal control (0.7–6.0 USD/livestock animal). In August 2006–August 2007, all seven farms used lethal methods, including trapping and shooting, to control black-backed jackals Canis mesomelas, caracals Caracal caracal and leopards Panthera pardus. In September 2007–September 2009, all farms fitted animals with epoxy–metal mesh collars that protected the animal’s neck from predator bites. Farmers reported numbers of livestock killed by predators, and associated costs, in September in 2007–2009.

(Summarised by Devin Nieusma )

Use guardian animals (e.g. dogs, llamas, donkeys) bonded to livestock to deter predators to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, before-and-after study in 2007–2009 of four livestock farms in savanna and shrubland in Eastern Cape, South Africa (McManus et al. 2015) found that using dogs Canis lupus familiaris and alpacas Vicugna pacos to guard livestock reduced attacks by carnivores on livestock, compared to using lethal control of predators. Results were not tested for statistical significance. When guard animals were used, 0–15% of livestock were killed each year by predators, but when lethal predator-control methods were used 5–45% of livestock were killed. Costs of using non-lethal control were lower (0.73–6.02 USD/livestock animal) than were those of lethal control (0.95–­7.94 USD/livestock animal). In August 2006–August 2007, all four farms used lethal methods, including trapping and shooting, to control black-backed jackals Canis mesomelas, caracals Caracal caracal and leopards Panthera pardus. In September 2007–September 2009, farms either used guard dogs (three farms) or alpacas (one farm) to protect animals. Farmers reported the number of livestock killed by predators and associated costs, each September, in 2007–2009.

(Summarised by Devin Nieusma )