“Ranchers can apply many of the same management approaches that work for land health and livestock production to prevent conflicts with large carnivores,” states Matt Barnes, field director for Keystone Conservation, in a new white paper that was funded in part by the Dixon Water Foundation.
“Modeling livestock management after the grazing patterns and reproductive cycles of wild ungulates in the presence of their predators can improve rangeland health and livestock production—and increase the ability of ranching operations to coexist with native carnivores,” continues Barnes in the paper’s abstract. “The central anti-predator behavior of wild grazing animals is to form large, dense herds that then move around the landscape to seek fresh forage, avoid fouled areas, and escape predators. They also have their young in short, synchronized birthing seasons (predator satiation). Grazing management involving high stocking density and frequent movement, such as rotational grazing and herding with lowstress livestock handling, can improve rangeland health and livestock production, by managing the distribution of grazing across time, space, and plant species. Short calving seasons can increase livestock production and reduce labor inputs, especially when timed to coincide with peak availability of forage quality. Such livestock management approaches based on antipredator behaviors of wild ungulates may directly and synergistically reduce predation risk— while simultaneously establishing a management context in which other predation-prevention practices and tools can be used more effectively.”
The full white paper, “Livestock Management for Coexistence with Large Carnivores, Healthy Land and Productive Ranches,” is available as a PDF on Keystone Conservation’s website: http://www.keystoneconservation.us/PDFs/KeystoneConservation_2015_WhitePaper.pdf
Keystone Conservation has developed several other resources for range managers about how grazing management can prevent conflict with large carnivores, while improving land health. The organization recently consolidated with People and Carnivores.