Environmental Management

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 175–188 | Cite as

The Cattle-Wolf Dilemma: Interactions among Three Protected Species



This paper utilizes economic valuation to offer a new perspective on livestock rancher—predator conflicts. While most studies have considered losses to the species directly involved, i.e., cattle and wolves (Canis lupus), we take into account other species that are threatened by efforts to protect livestock. In this case, vultures (Gyps fulvus) and gazelles (Gazella gazella), both endangered species, are either poisoned (vultures) or suffer from habitat fragmentation (gazelles) in the Upper Galilee region in Israel. Since the ecological value of these species is unobserved in the marketplace, we use the contingent valuation method to quantify the loss incurred from damage to protected species: wolves, vultures and gazelles. This method uses surveys of a representative sample from the population to generate estimates for use and non-use values of animals and other components of the natural environment. These value estimates are then used to compare between different measures that address the problem: either protect cattle herds by building anti-wolf fences and taking other protective measures, or compensating ranchers for their losses from wolf depredations. Our analysis suggests that while it is optimal from the ranchers’ point of view to invest in protective measures such as fences, dogs and guards against wolves, it is not in society’s best interest. A cost-benefit analysis taking into account all the ecological values finds a higher net benefit to society from a relatively small amount of protection, coupled with compensation to the farmers for depredations.


Cost benefit analysis Contingent-valuation method Wildlife management Israel 



We thank the Nature Protection Agency for their financial support for this research. Research assistance was provided by Omer Yaffe, Emil Shienfeld, Mahmud Hatib, and Boaz Becker.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Management, Tel-Hai CollegeUpper GalileeIsrael

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