Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Workshop to teach predator deterrents

Techniques developed from Wood River Wolf Project

Express Staff Writer

    Defenders of Wildlife will host a training workshop and field tour to demonstrate nonlethal predator deterrents for livestock producers next week in Hailey.
    The workshop will take place Monday, June 16, from 1-5 p.m. and Tuesday, June 17, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 200 of the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road.
    According to a press release from Defenders of Wildlife, the nonprofit organization’s Wood River Wolf Project has evolved over the past seven years from covering a few grazing allotments in the Big Wood River Valley to more than 1,000 square miles of Blaine County. Wolf advocates, ranchers, scientists and county officials have collaborated to implement nonlethal deterrents to reduce losses in the project area, which now contains more than 27,000 sheep and several resident wolf packs.
    The release states that documented sheep losses to wolves in the project area remain significantly lower than in any other area of the state with similar sheep and wolf densities. Specifically, documented losses to wolves in the project area since 2007 have averaged 0.01 percent annually compared to 0.54 percent statewide, according to National Agriculture Statistics Service estimates.
    This year, the project is testing new deterrents from wildlife-coexistence projects in Australia, and offering site risk assessments for local landowners,
    The workshop is designed to help others learn about the tools and strategies that have emerged from the project.
    The agenda for June 16 includes:
•    An overview of the Wood River Wolf Project
•    Tools and methods, with Stewart Breck of the National Wildlife Research Center; Patrick Graham, Wood River Wolf Project; Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (retired); Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife; Rick Williamson, USDA Wildlife Services (retired)
•    Livestock husbandry: carcass and sick livestock removal.
•    Deterrent methods: human presence, guard dogs, lighting and sound scare devices, fladry and other barriers.
•    “Living With Bears: Electric Fencing to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflicts.”
    A field tour of Lava Lake Land and Livestock’s operations on June 17 will demonstrate market-based, wildlife-friendly agriculture.
    Cost of the workshop is $60 for both days. To register, email or call 208-861-4655.

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