Human-wildlife conflict harms humans, wildlife, and wildlife conservation globally. I investigated a perceived conflict regarding the lethal control of turkey vultures Cathartes aura by sheep farmers in the Falkland Islands. The conflict escalated after the passage of a government policy limiting the traditional method of vulture management (i.e., shooting). I interviewed half of the sheep farmers on the islands, gathered questionnaires from half of the farmers and the majority of conservationists, and estimated vulture damage to sheep during my observations of vulture-sheep interactions during the 2008 lambing season (Sept. – Nov.). Half of farmers queried considered vultures a major threat to lambs, birthing ewes, and sheep that lie or fall down and are unable to get up (i.e., cast sheep). One of the forty-one farmers interviewed had personally witnessed turkey vulture predation on a lamb, the first account of its kind. I did not observe vultures attack sheep or lambs during 184 hours of field observation, although I did see vultures feeding on cast and still alive ewes twice. I estimated turkey vultures feed on 0.0 – 3.7% of ewes during the lambing season while the ewes are cast, and I concluded vulture predation on lambs is rare. Results suggest potential to mitigate this conflict exists through a policy modification that authorises limited control of “problem” vultures. I believe this change will result in more satisfied farmers, fewer turkey vultures killed, and ultimately greater success for wildlife conservation in the Falkland Islands.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. December 2011. Major: Conservation Biology. Advisor: Francesca Cuthbert. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 43 pages, appendices I-IV.
Breen, Brandon M..
Sheep farmers and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) in the Falkland Islands: from conflict to coexistence.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.