Predation by wild carnivores challenges livestock producers worldwide. To reduce or offset losses due to predation, a variety of predator control methods and compensation schemes have been developed. In 2001, Marin County, California, USA replaced its U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services (WS) cooperative predator damage management program with a county-run program that emphasized nonlethal methods for preventing and controlling coyote (Canis latrans) predation on domestic sheep (Ovis aries). This new Livestock Protection Program (LPP) cost-shared with livestock producers’ efforts to improve fencing, obtain and maintain guard animals, and other such nonlethal methods, and initially it compensated producers for documented losses to predators. In 2006, 5 years into the program, 17 sheep producers were surveyed to compare the former WS program to the LPP with regard to rancher satisfaction and preferences, lethality to predators, livestock losses, uses of nonlethal predator deterrent techniques, and costs. In 2016, 15 years after the program was replaced by a county-administered nonlethal program, we surveyed sheep producers to determine if their perceptions of the program had changed. Although the lack of standardized data collection complicated our evaluation, the number of sheep and lambs produced in Marin County has continued to decline; 5 producers left the sheep business and others who remain graze less acreage with smaller flocks, predation by coyotes remains a high concern to producers, and producers are generally dissatisfied with the Livestock Protection Program. Recommendations include increased programmatic funding for management practices, payments for losses, and seasonal hiring of wildlife specialists during critical times, especially during lambing seasons.
Larson, Stephanie; McGranahan, Devan A.; and Timm, Robert M.
"The Marin County Livestock Protection Program: 15 Years in Review,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 13
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol13/iss1/11