Livestock Protection Dogs in the 21st Century: Is an Ancient Tool Relevant to Modern Conservation Challenges?
July 3, 2019
Europe and North America share a similar history in the extirpation and subsequent recovery of large carnivore and ungulate species. Both continents face challenges and opportunities for managing human-wildlife conflict at the junction of livestock production and wildlife conservation. Predation of livestock and disease transmission between wildlife and livestock is an ongoing and escalating worldwide issue. In order to manage this conflict, producers need effective tools, and they have used livestock protection dogs (LPDs) for reducing predation for well over 2000 years. We review the history of the use of LPDs, including the loss of information on their use and the paucity of scientific research on their effectiveness. We discuss the potential for LPDs to be integral components in modern-day livestock husbandry and outline future directions to pursue.
Author(s): Thomas M. Gehring, Kurt C. VerCauteren, and Jean-Marc Landry