Did you know that technology in conservation has been used for decades to increase the efficiency of agricultural operations? CCB has been working hard in testing different farming technologies that could make the lives of farmers easier and those that promote coexistence with carnivores. A wide range of carnivores exist on commercial farmlands so farmers can sometimes experience stock losses due to predation. Recently, the CCB research team deployed a new technological device called the Skaapwagter in a commercial farm in Ghanzi, to test its effectiveness at keeping carnivores away from livestock. The device is an invention by a South African farmer who was losing livestock to carnivores. The Skaapwagter is a deterrent device that can be used to emit lights, sound and chemicals that are particularly agitating to carnivores. The device comes in many different versions and our research team will be testing the chemical version. The team is using the device in conjunction with camera traps so as to monitor the movements of carnivores in response to the device over the next six months. We are predicting that the device will be an effective deterrent in the short term, however we are interested to see whether carnivores habituate to them over a long time period. Predation can cause stock losses which can be a significant economic stress for farmers. For long-term sustainable human-wildlife carnivore conflict mitigation, farmers’ are advised to implement new technologies to manage predation without persecution. It is our hope that these Skaapwagters will help prevent livestock attacks and help alleviate some of the conflicts felt by farmers. We are looking forward to the delivery of more of these devices so we can expand this pilot study to include more farmers in the Ghanzi farmlands. Keep checking our website for more details on this project, including the results once they are available. For more information on the Skaapwagter, check out the link below: www.skaapwagter.com
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