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Wolf depredation on livestock in central Greece

Abstract

We studied wolfCanis lupus Linnaeus, 1758 — livestock conflict in central Greece by investigating patterns of 267 verified wolf attacks on livestock for 21 months. Wolves attacked adult goats 43% and cattle 218% more than expected, whereas sheep 41% less than expected from their availability. Wolves killed less than four sheep or goats in 79%, and one cow or calf in 74% of depredation events, respectively. We recorded higher attack rates during wolf post-weaning season. Wolf attacks on strayed, or kept inside non predator-proof enclosures, sheep and goats, were on average two to four times respectively more destructive than those when livestock was guarded by a shepherd. Sheepdog use reduced losses per attack. Optimal sheepdog number ranged from 3 to 9 animals depending on flock size. Losses per attack were positively related to the number of wolves involved. Total losses per farm were positively correlated with the size of livestock unit but percentage losses per capita increased with decreasing flock size. Management implications to mitigate livestock depredation are discussed.

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Associate editor was Krzysztof Schmidt.

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Iliopoulos, Y., Sgardelis, S., Koutis, V. et al. Wolf depredation on livestock in central Greece. Acta Theriol 54, 11–22 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03193133

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Key words

  • wolf
  • livestock
  • depredation
  • husbandry methods
  • conservation
  • Greece