Predation has always been an important problem in extensive sheep farms, causing serious economic losses to the farmers. Official predation reports have recently been decreasing in the District of Pisa, in spite of the presence of two wolf packs in the area. The aim of the present research was to obtain reliable information on the characteristics of predation and to estimate the effectiveness of existing prevention methods in sheep farms of the southern District of Pisa, in order to set up predictive models for an improved and more focused prevention plan and support interventions by public authorities. On-farm surveys were carried out in 73 semi-extensive sheep farms. Predation events were reported by 75.3% of the farmers. Wolves seemed to be responsible for most of those events, although their actual role could be confirmed only in 34% of cases. Most of the events occurred in spring and 85.1% of them were concentrated during night time. The average number of sheep killed during each attack was 7.05. In 22.3% of cases, the number of sheep killed was ≥10. Proximity to protected areas and the presence of thick vegetation cover significantly affected the probability of a farm being subjected to chronic predation. Farm size was significantly higher in those cases. No clear indication about the effectiveness of prevention methods could be obtained from our survey. The results of this investigation highlighted the impact of predation in the Southern District of Pisa and emphasized the need for finding technical and political solutions to this problem. Attention should be focused on large farms, with thick vegetation cover and located close to protected areas. Further investigations should be carried out in order to test the effectiveness of suitable prevention methods in these farms.

Sheep predation: Charcteristics and risk factors

RUSSO, CLAUDIA;
2012-01-01

Abstract

Predation has always been an important problem in extensive sheep farms, causing serious economic losses to the farmers. Official predation reports have recently been decreasing in the District of Pisa, in spite of the presence of two wolf packs in the area. The aim of the present research was to obtain reliable information on the characteristics of predation and to estimate the effectiveness of existing prevention methods in sheep farms of the southern District of Pisa, in order to set up predictive models for an improved and more focused prevention plan and support interventions by public authorities. On-farm surveys were carried out in 73 semi-extensive sheep farms. Predation events were reported by 75.3% of the farmers. Wolves seemed to be responsible for most of those events, although their actual role could be confirmed only in 34% of cases. Most of the events occurred in spring and 85.1% of them were concentrated during night time. The average number of sheep killed during each attack was 7.05. In 22.3% of cases, the number of sheep killed was ≥10. Proximity to protected areas and the presence of thick vegetation cover significantly affected the probability of a farm being subjected to chronic predation. Farm size was significantly higher in those cases. No clear indication about the effectiveness of prevention methods could be obtained from our survey. The results of this investigation highlighted the impact of predation in the Southern District of Pisa and emphasized the need for finding technical and political solutions to this problem. Attention should be focused on large farms, with thick vegetation cover and located close to protected areas. Further investigations should be carried out in order to test the effectiveness of suitable prevention methods in these farms.
2012
Mattiello, Silvana; Bresciani, Tafsit; Gaggero, Serena; Russo, Claudia; Mazzarone, Vito
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/155505
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