The Landmark Foundation is committed to establishing effective management methods that are ecologically and ethically acceptable. Less than 20% of South Africa is under conservation and species extinction is happening at an alarming rate. We need to build economies that are based on conservation of our natural resources.
The standards we promote for predator management support a healthy ecosystem and the conservation of endangered species.At the same time they support agricultural and related economic activities. Management includes the use of guardian animals like dogs, donkeys and alpacas, shepherds, protective livestock collars, alarm systems, and a variety of other detterent and barrier methods.
These methods are recommended to be used holistically as part of an adaptive and dynamic management plan. No single method will be 100 % effective on its own. They work best when applied in combination. These strategies have shown improved production with higher financial returns.
Predator management on livestock farms
Farmers experience high and unaffordable livestock losses every year. There are many causes of such losses, namely natural mortality (disease, exposure, mis-mothering, birth problems and defects, etc) and predation could be blamed as a result of primary predation or secondary predation as a result of the natural vulnerability. Whatever the cause, it is abundantly clear that husbandry practices is the main determinant of the level of losses. It is in this sphere that the Landmark Foundation believes the solution lies. The “reported” problem of losses of sheep, goats and cattle to predators results in widespread unnecessary human-wildlife conflict and has been ongoing for centuries. After centuries of application of lethal predator controls, the farming communities are the first to admit that the problem has worsened, and we ask thus if the problem has worsened, whether it is not clear that indiscriminate lethal control is ineffective?
A comparative trial with over 16 000 stock units in the Baviaanskloof and Jansenville area showed a 56—97 % reduction in livestock losses when non-lethal management methods were used. These methods included the introduction of livestock guarding dogs, protective livestock collars adaptive livestock grazing management.
Input and running costs per year of non-lethal predator management were less than when compared with the costs of lethal controls used previously. Research is ongoing, assessing the role played by livestock husbandry practices, heard health, stock rotations and the effects of disease and climatic conditions on reported losses. This has not been adequately studied, however research indicates that predators may cause fewer losses than initially thought. Predators are frequently incorrectly identified as being the primary cause of reported large-scale losses.