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Samelius, G., Suryawanshi, K., Frank, J., Agvaantseren, B., Baasandamba, E., Mijiddorj, T., Johansson, O., Tumursukh, L., Mishra, C. (2020). Keeping predators out: testing fences to reduce livestock depredation at night-time corrals. Oryx, , 1–7.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by large carnivores is a global conservation challenge, and mitigation measures to reduce livestock losses are crucial for the coexistence of large carnivores and people. Various measures are employed to reduce livestock depredation but their effectiveness has rarely been tested. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of tall fences to reduce livestock losses to snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus at night-time corrals at the winter camps of livestock herders in the Tost Mountains in southern Mongolia. Self-reported livestock losses at the fenced corrals were reduced from a mean loss of 3.9 goats and sheep per family and winter prior to the study to zero losses in the two winters of the study. In contrast, self-reported livestock losses in winter pastures, and during the rest of the year, when herders used different camps, remained high, which indicates that livestock losses were reduced because of the fences, not because of temporal variation in predation pressure. Herder attitudes towards snow leopards were positive and remained positive during the study, whereas attitudes towards wolves, which attacked livestock also in summer when herders moved out on the steppes, were negative and worsened during the study. This study showed that tall fences can be very effective at reducing night-time losses at corrals and we conclude that fences can be an important tool for snow leopard conservation and for facilitating the coexistence of snow leopards and people.