Livestock Protection Dogs study update
· As of 15 October the 2015 field season ended. Until the 2016 season, we have stopped collecting data on space-use for dogs, sheep, and large carnivores; behavioral data for dogs; and mortality data for sheep in field sites throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
· In September, 1 kangal was removed from the study because of a lack of bonding to stock, 1 kangal was relocated for behavioral problems, and 2 transmontano puppies were placed with a new producer. Unfortunately, 2 transmontanos died in vehicle related accidents.
· In October, 2 karakachans were relocated due to behavioral problems and concerns over chasing sheep. Two kangals were also relocated and placed with a new producer.
· At the end of the 2015 field season the study included 19 producers, 21 sheep bands, 20 kangals, 9 karakachans, 12 transmontanos, and 3 whitedogs (most whitedogs are not monitored over the winter, and often different individuals are collared the next season).
· Confirmed or probable depredations between 1 May and 15 October 2015 include:
o 2 grizzly bear depredations
o 8 wolf depredations
o 10 cougar depredations
o 4 black bear depredations
o 23 coyote depredations
o 6 unidentified predator depredations
· Some preliminary analyses from the study were presented at The Wildlife Society’s 2015 Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba on October 19. A PDF of the research poster is attached to this update as a PDF. Please feel free to distribute as you see fit.
· Field work will commence again in May of 2016 for a final season of data collection. However, please feel free to contact Daniel Kinka or Julie Young as needed over the winter.
As a reminder, we are conducting a survey of attitudes towards guardian dogs and large carnivores. Distribution of human surveys will continue throughout the winter. If you or people you know would be interested in completing or distributing the survey please contact any of the project staff to obtain survey packets. Surveys are available in English and Spanish. All responses to the survey are kept strictly anonymous.
Thank you very much to all of our gracious collaborators. The study would not be possible without you. We’ll see you again in May!
Julie K. Young, Ph.D., Study director