U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

December 2003


Published by Conservation Biology; Pages 1531-1537; Volume 17, No. 6, December 2003.


Conservation biology requires the development of practical tools and techniques to minimize conflicts arising from human modification of ecosystems. We applied behavioral theory of primary and secondary repellents to predator management by using aversive stimulus devices (electronic training collars) and disruptive stimulus devices (behavior-contingent audio and visual repellents) in a multipredator (Canis lupus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Ursus spp. ) study in the United States. We examined fladry and a newly developed disruptive stimulus device contingent upon behavior on six wolf territories in Wisconsin, (US.A.) and determined that the disruptive stimulus device gave the greatest degree of protection from predation. We also compared the efficacy of a primary repellent (disruptive stimulus device) versus a secondary repellent (electronic training collars) to keep captive wolves from consuming a food source. Disruptive stimulus devices effectively prevented captive wolves from consuming the food resource, but did not produce an aversion to that food resource. With training collars, logistical and behavioral variability limited our ability to condition wolves. Our studies highlight the complexity of application of nonlethal techniques in real-world situations.