There is little evidence that killing predators helps protect livestock

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Wildlife officials in Washington State recently green-lit a controversial plan to kill a pack of wolves fingered as the culprits behind a spate of attacks on cows there. The way the state sees it, taking out the carnivores could help prevent more livestock losses.
    The United States used this justification to kill thousands of coyotes, wolves, bears, and other predators last year. Other nations, including Canada and Finland, have also authorized predator hunts for this reason.
    But these killings might not solve any problems after all. A new study published Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment found that there's little scientific evidence that killing predators actually accomplishes the goal of protecting livestock.
    Research team reviewed previous research attempting to measure the effectiveness of various predator-control methods in North America and Europe. Some studies looked at whether killing predators meant fewer livestock deaths, while others examined the success of nonlethal deterrents, such as the use of guard dogs and flag-lined ropes or wires.
    The scientists found that most of the research doesn’t hold up scientifically. Only two of the studies were deemed top notch because they took into consideration the possible effects of things like disease, weather and other elements that could influence livestock deaths. But neither study focused on the effectiveness of killing predators. Instead the papers concluded that certain nonlethal predator-control methods helped ward off future attacks on livestock.
    Walter L. Wagner likes this.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    A certain amount of predator killing by government agencies is political - keeping a certain constituency pacified, so they won't trash various vulnerable ecological programs.

    That fraction will not be affected by such findings - they already know.

    But some of the rest is basically pathological - there is an outlaw faction in the BLM, for example, that appears to regard predator killing as the fun part of the job. That faction can be stepped on with enough authoritative science and good upper level management.

    So good one.
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