WILD FAUNA MANAGEMENT: A DEFINITION
Wild fauna management is a science dealing with wildlife studies, with a specific focus on the relationships between wild animals, environment features and anthropic presence.
The aim of this discipline is the conservation and protection of native fauna of an area, including threatened and endangered species.
With this aim, wild fauna management looks for an integration able to satisfy human goals through the administration of wildlife resources, without compromising their permanence and without permanently altering their natural balance.
WHAT DOES WILD FAUNA DO?
The main activities of fauna management consist on the definition of mitigation measures, taking into account the level of risk of species and populations.
They can be divided into four main groups of activities:
1. Identify clear objectives
2. Choose appropriate methods
4. Adopt a critical evaluation of results
WILD FAUNA MANAGEMENT APPROACH
If we consider wild fauna management as a system of measures aimed to create and maintain a balance between wild animals, environment and anthropic presence, we understand that it necessary needs an integrated approach, able to consider all these aspects.
THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY
Universities could have an important role in the development of fauna management strategies and measures, in terms of research, training, innovation and education.
UNGULATES AND PREVENTION: SOME PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS
Fence your property with an high fence
Fences are the safest but also the most expensive alternative. You can use various types of wire mesh, but also electronic fences or specific equipment connected to a battery that intermittently releases small electric shocks to the fence.
Use auditory or visual device
Use something frightening to discourage ungulates from coming into the property (i.e. dogs, scarecrow, etc.).
Use sheep’s wool
The smell of sheep’s wool, because of the fat with which it is impregnated, drives animals away. On the market there are many products based on this material; they usually have a low cost but their effectiveness loses over time. For this reason more interventions are needed. It’s an ancient remedy, its effectiveness is variable and not always the result is assured.
Reduce possible attractants for ungulates
Don’t leave piles of fruits anywhere on the property; remove fallen fruits and compost unused vegetable or fruit matter; store hay responsibly.
Avoid or reduce the transmission of disease
Do not allow the contact between domestic sheep and wild sheep.
Provide a travel corridor into your property
This measure is aimed to allow safe passage around and through the property.
Use ultrasonic bollards
Ultrasonic bollards produce a variable sound that is not audible by man, who is able to keep animals away from the vineyard. These devices have a good efficiency but their positioning must be carefully studied.
NATURAL PREDATORS, HUNTING AND WILDLIFE CONTROL
If methods listed before are based on prevention, natural predator, hunting and wildlife control measures represent a type of intervention more incisive and environmentally damaging.
Wolves are the natural predators of ungulates and in nature these two species live in balance. They may therefore be the best friends of the winegrowers, but at the same time they are the worst enemies of the breeders who ask for their selective slaughter in order to protect their flocks and herds.
Hunting and wildlife control
In some cases, the use of hunting seems to be one of the few remedies that can control in a practical way the number of ungulates in agricultural areas.
Through controlled harvesting and culling plans, governments can keep populations below the critical threshold, for the benefit not only of farmers but also of the ecosystem, which does not lose any of its components.
In Italy, every region regulates the hunting of ungulates in a different way, with sampling plans established from year to year. In general, the animals are collected in a controlled manner and only authorised hunters can shoot the animals.
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- Scotter G.W. (1980), Management of Wild Ungulate Habitat in the Western United States and Canada: A Review, Journal of range management, 33(1).
- Triton (2005), Literature review of methodologies for large ungulate habitat enhancement concurrent with industrial development, Available at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/documents/bib97172.pdf (Free access). [2019/03/20].