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Sheep farms are a strong attractant for bears and wolves, especially if they are located at the forest edge and are not adequately protected. Livestock lacks natural anti-predator defence reactions and so falls easy prey. Sheep shut in a sheep-fold are particularly vulnerable: they cannot escape. That is one of the reasons why bears sometimes injure or kill more animals that they can eat.
Livestock guarding dogs
For thousands of years, shepherds have used dogs to protect their flocks from wild predators as well as thieves. Livestock guarding dogs such as the Slovenský čuvač and Caucasian shepherd dog have innate characteristics that make them reliable and courageous guardians. How they are raised is important. Pups must get used to their surroundings and grow up within the flock from about eight weeks of age. In this way they form a strong social bond and regard sheep as their family. For them it is natural that in adulthood they will protect their "relations". More ...
Electric fences can also be very effective at protecting flocks of sheep and cattle. They must be strong enough and properly installed. A successful project in Romania uses a Euroguard A3500 energizer, which releases high voltage (5000-8000V) electric impulses (max. 1/sec) to the conducting wires. Plastic insulators are used to mount 5 wires to wooden posts at heights of 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100cm. A 60-70cm metal bar is used for grounding and the system also has a lightning rod to protect the energizer. Power is supplied by a 100W car battery. Livestock quickly learn to avoid the electrified wires, but should be watched intially after installation to prevent damage to the fence. More ...
Livestock is less liable to attack when it is at least 100m from the nearest woodland or other vegetation and landscape features that could provide cover for predators. Research has shown that losses of sheep are lower where pastures are not overgrown with bushes. If there has been an attack, moving the flock to a different location can help to avoid further losses.
Shooting or capturing bears
When preventive methods fail, the bear may have to be removed. Bears have sometimes been relocated to areas where they are less likely to cause further damage. However, relocating bears is expensive and it is difficult to find suitable release sites. Relocated bears might create problems at their new locations or return to where they were captured. Another possibility is to keep nuisance bears in captivity, but zoos and sanctuaries have limited space. If capture and relocation is not a viable option, the bear may have to be destroyed.
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