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Impact of livestock guardian dogs on livestock predation in rural Mongolia

Lieb, Zoe, Tumurbaatar, Batbaatar, Elfström, Bruce, Bull, Joe (2021) Impact of livestock guardian dogs on livestock predation in rural Mongolia. Conservation Science and Practice, . Article Number e509. E-ISSN 2578-4854. (doi:10.1111/csp2.509) (KAR id:89564)

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Much like subsistence farmers the world over, Mongolian herders depend directly on their herds for food, materials, and income. Consequently, any loss of livestock through predation from wild carnivores (including wolves, foxes, snow leopards, and birds of prey) is a major challenge. With a lack of non-lethal mitigation methods currently available to them, herders in Mongolia frequently manage conflict with predators with retaliatory hunting, negatively impacting populations of wild predators. Livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) are an increasingly popular non-lethal means worldwide for discouraging livestock predation. However, empirical evaluations of the efficacy of using LGDs in contemporary landscapes are rare throughout Asia. Evaluating these human–wildlife conflict prevention strategies are especially important in areas used to produce globally traded commodities, such as cashmere in the case of Mongolia. We implemented longitudinal structured interview-based surveys to evaluate the use and effectiveness of LGDs as a conflict mitigation strategy for semi-nomadic herders in three locations across Mongolia. Sixteen herders in Nomgon, Ömnögovi, Undur-Ulaan, Arkhangai, Khustain Nuruu National Park area, and Gorkhi Terelj National Park area were surveyed between 2015 and 2019, throughout the process of receiving and training LGDs. Our analysis suggested herders experienced a significant reduction in the annual losses of livestock to predation after receiving LGDs (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Z = −3.329, p = .001, n = 16), including when accounting for background predation rates. Consequently, we consider LGDs likely to be a viable method for livestock protection alongside the conservation of predators in Mongolia, and potentially elsewhere in Asia. We finish by exploring important considerations should this approach be used more intensively throughout the country and beyond.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/csp2.509
Uncontrolled keywords: herding; human wildlife interaction; Mongolian Bankhar dog; non-lethal control; predation mitigation; predator; wolves
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Joseph Bull
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 09:37 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2021 08:12 UTC
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