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Use of protective collars to reduce cattle losses to leopards in Iran

 · Shared by : Igor Khorozyan
 · Last update : 8 July 2020
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Implementation, use
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Initiative
description

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Leader name
Igor Khorozyan
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Entity type
University Institute
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Launching Date
1 January 2017
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Assessment initiative
Assessed
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Initiative Type
Touch deterrents and repellents
Visual deterrents and repellents
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Wildlife species
Leopard
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Issues
Livestock
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Intervention area
Iran

BACKGROUND

Cattle freely graze in the Hyrcanian forest of northern Iran and suffer high losses to leopards, what leads to retaliatory killings and conflicts between local people and conservation.

DESCRIPTION

The collar is a wide leather belt reinforced with metal spikes and studs and having a lock with D-rings to prevent theft. It is fit on the neck very easily, like a regular belt, and fastened and locked on the nape.

We conducted a 14-month randomized controlled test to see how collared (treatment) and uncollared (control) cattle belonging to the same owners differ in leopard-caused mortality. No collared cattle were lost, whereas uncollared cattle used to be killed by leopards as usual. Each of 27 owners had collared and uncollared cattle in nearly equal proportions.

We do not know yet how these collars protect cattle (neophobia or learned experience) as this requires a special telemetry study of leopard and cattle movements.

PRINCIPLE

Leopards cause significant losses to people in northern Iran by killing cattle and other livestock. As leopards and other felids kill their prey by throat bites which block the windpipe and cause suffocation, we decided to fit local cattle with leather protective collars and see how they work. Local husbandry of cattle includes only night sheds, but animals are often left overnight in the forest. No herding is used. Therefore, collars can be the most practical way to protect cattle from leopard attacks.

CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS

Close cooperation with local people and conservation authorities
Professional and dedicated team
Frequent monitoring to maintain contacts with livestock owners and assist troubleshooting
Cattle grazing in forest should always stay collared. However, collars should be removed from those cattle which winter in cowsheds as leopards do not trespass here. When indoor-wintering cattle are going to be released into the forest in spring, they should be collared again and this needs careful attention by the research team


Advantages

  • - No cattle losses recorded
  • - Positive attitudes of locals
  • - Collars are appropriately designed, strong and user-friendly
  • - Positive attitudes of conservation authorities
  • - Prospects for large-scale implementation in the future
  • - Collar production can become a small-scale local business, which will substantially reduce collar price

Disadvantages

  • - In our study, the price was 25 Euro per collar, but this was because it was an unusual product and only one workshop in capital Tehran made them. It is quite possible to set up a local workshop in a community which could produce such collars for local people at a much lower price. The same workshop also can produce saddles, dog collars, bridles and similar products.
  • - Some collars were long and loose on thin necks of cattle, and some others used to lose their spikes in dense vegetation. We produced shorter collars with studs only, and replaced the original collars. Cattle owners were satisfied with this alternative.
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Implementation, use
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IMPLEMENTATION

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IMPLEMENTATION KEY STEPS

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USE & MAINTENANCE

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EQUIPMENTS

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Icon Contact igor.khorozyan@biologie.uni-goettingen.de
Icon Internet links
https://doi.org/10.1002/2688-8319.12013
Icon Funding opportunities German Research Foundation (DFG)

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Comments

  • Dear authors,
    Can you please clarify that larger prey, such as cattle, is typically killed by leopards with a throat bite? And hence the success of the neck collar.
    Consider that not all carnivores have the same killing behavior and not all members of ENCOSH are familiar with this.
    For instance, wolves typically attack cattle from the rear (hind quarters), to avoid the horns used in anti-predator behaviors.
    Best
    Silvia

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