Date of this Version
Young, J.K., J. Draper, and S. Breck. 2019. Mind the gap: Experimental tests to improve efficacy of fladry for nonlethal management of coyotes. Wildlife Society Bulletin 43(2):265-271. doi: 10.1002/wsb.970
Coyotes (Canis latrans) are the top predator of livestock in the contiguous United States. Developing more eﬀective nonlethal tools to prevent coyote depredation will facilitate coexistence between livestock producers and coyotes. Fladry is a nonlethal deterrent designed to defend livestock by creating a visual barrier to wolves (C. lupus). Fladry may also be eﬀective with coyotes, but large gap spacing between ﬂags may reduce its eﬃcacy. To address this issue, we performed 2 experiments on captive coyotes using ﬂadry modiﬁed to reduce gap spacing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Predator Research Facility in Millville, Utah, USA, during 2015–2016 and 2017–2018. In 2015–2016, we tested 2 styles for attaching ﬂags (top‐knot and shower‐curtain) to the rope‐line that reduce gaps by preventing coiling of individual ﬂags.In2017–2018,wetestedtheeﬃcacyofgapspacing(27.9cmvs.45.7cm)between ﬂags for preventing coyote crossings. For both tests, we compared the time until coyotes crossed the ﬂadry between treatment types. We found no diﬀerences in time to crossing between the 2 attachment designs. In our second experiment, ﬂadry with smaller gaps between ﬂags had greater eﬃcacy of preventing coyote crossings than did ﬂadry with larger gaps. Our results also indicated that for each additional minute coyotes spent interacting with ﬂadry overall (i.e., increased persistent behavior), survival of the barrier decreased. These results suggest that persistent coyotes may overcome neophobia more rapidly than coyotes that do not exhibit persistent behaviors. Furthermore, use of top‐knot ﬂadry and coyote‐width spacing will increase protection of livestock from coyotes.
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