Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Helping carnivores and people co-exist


Keeping predators at bay with flashing lights and loud noises instead of bullets

When wolves and other large carnivores threaten people and livestock, wildlife managers often resort to killing them. But now there’s hope for a non-lethal solution to controlling carnivores. New research shows that movement-activated guards with strobe lights and sound recordings can help keep wolves and bears away.

"High-technology devices are much more expensive, complicated and limited in effectiveness than a single bullet from a high-powered rifle, but they also allow a predator to live - surely the goal of conservation," say John Shivik of the United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center and Utah State University in Logan; Adrian Treves, who did this work while at Conservation International in Madison, Wisconsin, and is now at the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bronx, New York; and Peggy Callahan of the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minnesota.

This work is part of a six-paper special section co-edited by Treves on the conflict between people and carnivores in the December issue of Conservation Biology.

Conflicts between people and carnivores are rising as people spread into remote habitats and as large carnivores recover from past eradication efforts. While wildlife managers often address these conflicts by killing "problem" animals, this runs counter to conservation efforts and could impede the recovery of rare carnivores. "To promote the existence and expansion of large carnivores, conservation biologists should assist with the real-world problems predators cause," say the researchers.

To help find non-lethal ways of controlling carnivores, Shivik and his colleagues did two experiments to see if movement-activated devices could deter predators from feeding. First, the researchers compared the predators’ consumption of road-killed deer carcasses before and after treating them with movement-activated guards. This experiment was done on wild predators including wolves and bears in northwest Wisconsin; the carcasses were replaced regularly; the pre-treatment and treatment periods ranged from roughly a week to a month; and the movement-activated guards had strobe lights and recordings of 30 sounds, including yelling, gunfire and helicopters.

In the second experiment, the researchers compared wolves’ consumption of sled-dog chow before and after treating it with movement-activated guards. This experiment was done on captive wolves at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minnesota, and the researchers determined how much of a 1-kg portion of sled-dog chow the wolves ate in an hour.

Both experiments showed that the movement-activated guards deterred the predators from feeding. In the experiment with wild predators, the movement-activated guards decreased the consumption of deer carcasses by about two-thirds (from roughly 3.3 to 1 kg per day). Similarly, in the experiment with captive wolves, the movement-activated guards decreased the consumption of dog food by about three-quarters (from roughly 0.8 to 0.2 kg).

The movement-activated guards have some drawbacks: they do not keep the predators away completely, and they are too costly and complicated to be feasible for many wildlife managers. Even so, movement-activated guards are still promising. "Non-lethal approaches to managing predation ...provide a means for conservation biologists to target areas with high predation levels and increase acceptance of large mammalian predators," say Shivik and his colleagues.


John Shivik: 435-797-1348, 435-245-6091,
Adrian Treves: 718-741-8197,

John Shivik | Society for Conservation Biology
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>