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      Animal Welfare in Predator Control: Lessons from Land and Sea. How the Management of Terrestrial and Marine Mammals Impacts Wild Animal Welfare in Human–Wildlife Conflict Scenarios in Europe

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          Abstract

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          Both marine and terrestrial mammal predators come into conflict with humans in Europe and yet their situations are rarely compared. Areas of conflict include the predation of livestock and farmed fish, and also perceived competition for wild prey (for example wolves competing with hunters for deer and seals competing with fishermen for salmon). A lethal method (shooting) and non-lethal methods of conflict reduction used for terrestrial large carnivores (e.g., bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx) and marine mammals (seals) are discussed and their potential impacts on predator welfare are considered. The importance of carrying out an animal welfare assessment when choosing a control method is emphasized along with possible assessment methods. Recommendations for future work are also made.

          Abstract

          The control of predators, on land and in the sea, is a complex topic. Both marine and terrestrial mammal predators come into conflict with humans in Europe in many ways and yet their situations are rarely compared. Areas of conflict include the predation of livestock and farmed fish, and the perceived competition for wild prey (for example wolves competing with hunters for deer and seals competing with fishermen for salmon). A lethal method (shooting) and non-lethal methods of conflict reduction (including enclosures, guarding, and aversion) used for terrestrial large carnivores (e.g., bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx) and marine mammals (seals) are discussed. Control measures tend to be species- and habitat-specific, although shooting is a widely used method. Potential impacts on predator welfare are described and welfare assessments which have been developed for other wildlife control scenarios, e.g., control of introduced species, are considered for their potential use in assessing predator control. Such assessments should be applied before control methods are chosen so that decisions prioritizing animal welfare can be made. Further work needs to be carried out to achieve appropriate and widely-accepted animal welfare assessment approaches and these should be included in predator management planning. Future research should include further sharing of approaches and information between terrestrial and marine specialists to help ensure that animal welfare is prioritized.

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          Most cited references 122

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          Revisiting translocation and reintroduction programmes: the importance of considering stress

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            Hunting for large carnivore conservation

             Adrian Treves (2009)
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              Shoot, shovel and shut up: cryptic poaching slows restoration of a large carnivore in Europe

              Poaching is a widespread and well-appreciated problem for the conservation of many threatened species. Because poaching is illegal, there is strong incentive for poachers to conceal their activities, and consequently, little data on the effects of poaching on population dynamics are available. Quantifying poaching mortality should be a required knowledge when developing conservation plans for endangered species but is hampered by methodological challenges. We show that rigorous estimates of the effects of poaching relative to other sources of mortality can be obtained with a hierarchical state–space model combined with multiple sources of data. Using the Scandinavian wolf (Canis lupus) population as an illustrative example, we show that poaching accounted for approximately half of total mortality and more than two-thirds of total poaching remained undetected by conventional methods, a source of mortality we term as ‘cryptic poaching’. Our simulations suggest that without poaching during the past decade, the population would have been almost four times as large in 2009. Such a severe impact of poaching on population recovery may be widespread among large carnivores. We believe that conservation strategies for large carnivores considering only observed data may not be adequate and should be revised by including and quantifying cryptic poaching.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Animals (Basel)
                Animals (Basel)
                animals
                Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI
                MDPI
                2076-2615
                29 January 2020
                February 2020
                : 10
                : 2
                Affiliations
                Wild Animal Welfare, La Garriga, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; laetitia.nunny@ 123456me.com
                Article
                animals-10-00218
                10.3390/ani10020218
                7070940
                32013173
                © 2020 by the author.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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