First data on canids depredation on livestock in an area of recent recolonization by wolf in central Italy : considerations on conflict survey and prevention methods

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Abstract

Wolf and dog depredation on livestock in the province of Rieti, central Italy, in 2007-2008, was studied. The study area was characterized by a high degree of human disturbance, widespread presence of free ranging dogs and a recent wolf recolonization. Because of the ineffectiveness of compensation programmes, it was not possible to use the official statistics to investigate the extent of the conflict, but sample interviews and surveys of farmers were used. Also, the farming protection tecniques adopted for different livestock species were analysed; the most utilized husbandry method was stabling for cattle and pigs, annual fenced grazing for horses and sheeps, and annual open grazing only for goats. Although sheep farms were the most attacked because of their availability (33.6% of the whole farms), goat farms were the most selected by predators because of their accessibility (40% of farms kept goats in annual open grazing). Management implications to mitigate livestock depredation were discussed.

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