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


Document Type


Date of this Version

July 2001


Published in Endangered Species UPDATE.


Chemical repellents and other aversive strategies are the core of non-lethal wildlife management. These strategies typically depend on irritation (pain), conditioning, or fear for their effectiveness, and none is universally successful. Thus, conditioned food aversions deter browsing and foraging by deer (virginianus , O. hemionus), but are less useful with predators, because killing, not consumption, is the behavior of interest. Broadly speaking, the utility of non-lethal strategies is affected by number and density of wildlife species, availability of alternative foods, palatability and novelty of treated items, and intensity of pain, sickness, or fear used to establish avoidance. Some of the most promising areas for successful predation management are those involving a combination of strategies tailored to a specific problem. For example, behavioral-contingent auditory and visual stimuli coupled with presentations of electric shock or momentary vibration (via telemetry collars) could provide an effective and unambiguous cue for withdrawal. Non-lethal methods, however, are rarely stand-alone technologies. More often, integrated strategies, involving both lethal and non-lethal methods, are required for effective predation management.