Just a hybrid subject between conservation dogs and human wildlife conflict.
I wanted to know if some of you experienced "crop protection dogs" to deter elephant from crops and alarm farmers by barking. Dog are already well-used to protect herd from predator. In the same idea I would like to train dogs (a small group 4-5) to deter elephant.
Do you have feedback on the community motivation and implication in this type of project?
The aim is to work with local dogs (basenjii) in Congo, what are the information we should look at before implementing such project?
All the best,
7 June 2021 10:29am
I have worked extensively with livestock guarding dogs (Anatolians) in the past. The effectiveness of this conflict mitigation method depends largely on how well the dog and the livestock bond to each other. It makes use of the pack instinct of the dogs, bonding to the livestock as his pack to defend from attackers (including other predators).
So the first question would be what typical dog behaviour do you want to exploit for your "crop protection dogs"? I would assume that you want to use territorial behaviour as the basis of the dogs protecting the croplands as "their" territory. So your training should focus on this (not sure how you would do it, though). The second issue could be that the dogs might not recognize elephants as intruders into their territory; i.e. they might be come used to the presence of crop-raiding elephants over time -- I really do not know dog-elephant interactions well enough to make a prediction on how this might play out.
A third potential issue that you need to think about, is exactly how effective the barking dogs will be as deterrents. Even if they warn the local farmers, will the farmers be able to drive the elephants away without danger to themselves? And will the dogs be effective in deterring the elephants, or rather be an irritant that makes the elephants (more) aggressive? I don't know. Will the dogs actually attack the elephants, or be scared of them (and maybe run away towards the village while being chased by the elephants)?
I think if you can address all of these points effectively, there is a good chance that this approach will succeed.