Non-Lethal Deterrents: Part I
As we slowly approach spring, many of the sheep producers involved in my proactive projects are getting ready for lambing season. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I work with producers to help them find non-lethal ways to deal with wolves. One way the producers can try and prevent conflict with wolves is by using fladry.
Fladry consists of a rope or wire that has strips of red or orange flagging all along its length. This flagging 'whips' about in the wind and acts AS a 'psychological' deterrent to wolves. First used in Eastern Europe, it was brought to North America a decade ago to be used to keep wolves away from livestock. Producers often use fladry to surround their night corrals, where they enclose the sheep for the night so that they can better keep an eye on their herds, and to protect them from predators.
Fladry is very lightweight and is easy to put up and take down, so herders are able to move these portable corrals every couple of days so as to avoid overgrazing a certain area. When an electrified wire is added to the fladry, it is called 'Turbo-fladry'. If any predators let their curiosity get the better of them, and they try and touch the turbo-fladry, the shock they get reinforces the idea that anything to do with fladry is bad.
Each livestock operation is different, and so fladry may not work in every case. This is just one of the tools in our 'toolbox' that we have at our disposal when helping livestock operations avoid conflicts with wolves. We have had good results when using fladry, and we will keep you posted on the results of this non-lethal deterrent in the coming months.