Defenders works with private landowners to keep wolves away from livestock

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by KenH, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. KenH

    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    May 18, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Non-Lethal Deterrents: Part IV

    Just a few days ago Defenders helped to purchase three livestock guarding dogs for a goat operation on private land in the foothills of the breathtaking Beartooth Mountains, in south Montana, just north of Yellowstone Park. Last year this operation lost a number of goats after a snowstorm meant the goats could not be herded safely back to their pens for the night. This year they decided that they would use herders and livestock guarding dogs to better protect their goats when in wolf country, and we were happy to help out as this area has seen a number of wolves killed over the years for depredating on livestock.

    Livestock guarding dogs have been used with livestock operations in the West since the 70’s to protect sheep and goat from coyotes and other predators. In the last decade since wolves were introduced, they have provided an extra line of vigilance against wolf depredations. Although the guard dogs are large, intimidating animals, their primary purpose is not to stand and fight off the approaching wolves, but rather to act as an alarm system to alert the nearby herders that predators are in the area. Producers have told us that it is best to have at least two dogs per sheep/goat band. The thinking behind this is that using three to four dogs or more is likely identified by wolves as a pack, which would discourage wolves from approaching the livestock, whereas a lone guard dog might act as an attractant to the very territorial pack of wolves.

    These dogs may be a number of breeds including Pyrenees, Akbash, Maremmas, but they share common characteristics such as a large build, thick fur and a lot of stamina. These dogs are associated at an early age with the livestock they will be guarding, almost becoming one of the band. They do not socialize too well with humans, which this is encouraged as their job is to stay with the livestock and not hang around the herders. Keep checking this site for news and pictures of these young dogs and the goats they are protecting.


Share This Page