The welfare of humans and animals is impacted by livestock-carnivore conflicts. Dr Neil Jordan has several projects underway and under-development as part of his ongoing research program in Botswana within the broad theme of livestock-carnivore conflict mitigation. This program is testing different non-lethal, cost-effective methods for reducing such conflict at different sites in Botswana.
One project (iCOW) aims to test the effectiveness of painting eye patterns on cattle in deterring attacks by ambush predators (lions and leopards) by ‘tricking’ the predator into thinking it has been seen by the cow and so abandon the hunt.
Another project (ROAR) focuses on testing the efficacy of lion roars and super-predator noises (human-based) in repelling lions and other predators from specific areas and reducing human-wildlife conflict.
iCOW: Currently the technique has proven to be 100% successful with no painted cows having been killed during the initial five month study, while four cows from the unpainted half of the same herd were killed by lions during the same period.
ROAR: a low-cost satellite collar, custom-built in collaboration with the Brisbane-based wildlife technology company, WildSpy, and linked to an automated acoustic playback system is the focus of this study. This ROAR (Radio-collar Operated Acoustic Repellent) station concept is based on a small chip housed in the collars. Upon approach of a collared predator (detection distance ~400 to 500 m), this chip is detected by the ROAR station (a detector and speakers set up in a tree), which switches on and selects a wav file from the internal SD card, and plays back the call at natural volume (95dB). Cow collars have been built and tested in Botswana and lion collars will be deployed next.
External funds and partnerships are currently being sought to complete and extend the study.