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Grazers are so sick of wild dog attacks on their sheep they are turning to electric fencing to keep the predator out. Duncan Ferguson from Barkingdine Downs is trialing a 1.5 kilometre Electric fence to keep feral dogs out of his breeding paddocks.
Wolves have been accused of feeding on sheep in areas where they have been re-introduced that has led to conflict between farmers, managers and conservation agencies and groups. However, by studying the excrement of wolves in the Basque province of Alava and environs, two researchers of the Euskadi Wolf Group at the Doñana Biological Station have found out what animals are preyed on by wolves. According to the article, published in Animal Conservation journal, in this region European wolves feed 70% on roe deer and wild boar and only 3% on sheep.
However, not the same has been observed in feral or uncontrolled dogs. In fact, a number of the excrement samples analysed correspond to dogs, and it has been verified that 36% of the cases contained sheep remains.
Feral and uncontrolled dogs are common and are also capable of attacking livestock, especially sheep. Their possible contribution to the depredation of livestock – and to the wolf’s bad reputation – is usually not evaluated by managers due to technical difficulties to determine the predator responsible for an attack.
Dogs may be excluded from an area in much the same way as a wolf or fox have been for years. The Electric Fencing is known to be in excess of 90% effective when properly constructed and maintained.