Title

Efficacy of guard llamas to reduce canine predation on domestic sheep

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Volume

28

Issue

3

Publisher

Wiley

Publication Date

2000

First Page

614

Last Page

622

Abstract

Coyotes (Canis latrans) can pose serious economic threats to sheep producers throughout the western United States. At the same time, important segments of the public prefer environmentally benign means to resolve conflicts with wild species. We evaluated the effectiveness of guard Ilamas to reduce canine predation on domestic sheep by placing 20 Ilamas with Utah sheep producers and comparing data collected from these flocks over 20 months with similar data collected from flocks without Ilamas. Comparisons included proportion of flocks with losses to predators and mean predation rates on ewes and lambs. We also conducted surveys to assess producer opinions about including Ilamas in their sheep management programs. In all comparisons of lamb losses between treatments and controls, losses sustained by control flocks in the first summer grazing season (SGS1) were significantly greater than in flocks with Ilamas. Among treatment flocks, losses were similar for SGS1 and the second summer grazing season (SGS2). Among controls, losses were greater in SGS1 and dropped to levels similar to treatment flocks in SGS2. The results suggest that predation may have to reach a threshold before guard Ilamas have noticeable effects on losses. Surveys of producers with Ilamas indicated strong support for using Ilamas as guard animals for sheep.