Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent developed by Ian Whalan, an Australian sheep farmer was a part of this seven year case study, “Adaptive use of nonlethal strategies for minimizing wolf–sheep conflict in Idaho” published in the Journal of Mammalogy
Suzanne A. Stone Stewart W. Breck Jesse Timberlake Peter M. Haswell Fernando Najera Brian S. Bean Daniel J. Thornhill
The following is a brief summary of the research article:
Worldwide, native predators are killed to protect livestock, an action that can undermine wildlife conservation efforts and create conflicts among stakeholders. An ongoing example is occurring in the western United States, where wolves (Canis lupus) were eradicated by the 1930s but are again present in parts of their historic range. While livestock losses to wolves represent a small fraction of overall livestock mortality, the response to these depredations has resulted in widespread conflicts including significant efforts at lethal wolf control to reduce impacts on livestock producers, especially those with large-scale grazing operations on public lands.
A variety of nonlethal methods have proven effective in reducing livestock losses to wolves in small-scale operations but in large-scale, open-range grazing operations, nonlethal management strategies are often presumed ineffective or infeasible. To demonstrate that nonlethal techniques can be effective at large scales, we report a 7-year case study where we strategically applied nonlethal predator deterrents and animal husbandry techniques on an adaptive basis (i.e., based on terrain, proximity to den or rendezvous sites, avoiding overexposure to techniques such as certain lights or sound devices that could result in wolves losing their fear of that device, etc.) to protect sheep (Ovis aries) and wolves on public grazing lands in Idaho.
We collected data on sheep depredation mortalities in the protected demonstration study area and compared these data to an adjacent wolf-occupied area where sheep were grazed without the added nonlethal protection measures. Over the 7-year period, sheep depredation losses to wolves were 3.5 times higher in the Nonprotected Area (NPA) than in the Protected Area (PA).
Furthermore, no wolves were lethally controlled within the PA and sheep depredation losses to wolves were just 0.02% of the total number of sheep present, the lowest loss rate among sheep-grazing areas in wolf range statewide, whereas wolves were lethally controlled in the NPA. Our demonstration project provides evidence that proactive use of a variety of nonlethal techniques applied conditionally can help reduce depredation on large open-range operations.
We are breaking down old barriers and creating new paradigms of wildlife coexistence. ~ Suzanne Asha Stone
“For the last decade, we’ve been working to determine if wolves and livestock can coexist across large landscapes using only nonlethal methods, which we were told was impossible and impractical. The results of the peer-reviewed paper? Far fewer livestock losses and no wolves killed by livestock protection agencies in our national forest Wood River Wolf Project area where 10,000 to 22,000 sheep graze all summer long annually. Over the 7 year field trial, we lost only 30 sheep total to wolves – far fewer than adjacent areas where wolves are killed to protect livestock. Huge thanks to the Journal of Mammalogy, my coauthors, project partners and mentors, field techs, volunteers, readers, and all our supporters. We are breaking down old barriers and creating new paradigms of wildlife coexistence.
Thanks especially to Carol and Rick Williamson, Lawrence Schoen, Carter Niemeyer, Doug Smith, Daniel Stahler, Jeremy Bruskotter, Ian Whalan, Brad Bergstrom, Brad Purcell, Kurt Holtzen, Mayor N. Jonas, the City Council of Ketchum, Idaho, the staff of the USDA Forest Service and Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, USDA Idaho Wildlife Services, the Idaho Office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Idaho Nature Conservancy, M. D. Duda, Responsive Management, and Project LightHawk and Foxlight inventor I. Whalan. Funding was provided by Defenders of Wildlife, The Golden Eagle Chapter of the Audubon Society and Toyota/ForeverGreen grant program, Blaine County, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, the Wolf Education and Research Center, The National Wolf Watchers Association, and private donors.” ~ Suzanne Asha Stone – Defenders of Wildlife For information on Foxlights click HERE
In Wisconsin Foxlights are saving lives with lights. Click the blue highlighted words to get the story.
If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Until then we must work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act.
The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted. Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric use of dogs to hunt wolves with no regulations in place; The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting. Source
Several politicians want state control of wolves. Two Wisconsin state republican legislators are in favor of state management of wolves; Rep Adam Jarchow and senator Tom Tiffany along with US republican Senators Reid Ribble and Ron Johnson are pushing to delist wolves. Senator Tiffany stated in a recent news strory:
“A state Senator is renewing his focus on delisting the wolf from the endangered species classification. State Senator Tom Tiffany wants U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to advocate for the change, and end what he calls “ping ponging” litigation over the issue.” Source
State senator Tom Tiffany stated in a news story:
“Tiffany and state Representative Representative Adam Jarchow – both Republicans – think Baldwin, a Democrat, could make a difference. “If some of her colleagues saw a Democrat like she is taking the lead on this issue, they would probably follow along,” Tiffany said.” Source
US senator Tammy Baldwin a democrat is in agreement of delisting wolves and in a recent statement said:
“I have heard the voices of Wisconsinites who have real concerns about the increasing threat of our state’s growing wolf population. Farmers have found livestock injured and killed by wolves that are straying closer to their herds than in previous years. Families have lost pets. Parents have decided it’s no longer safe to let their kids play where they normally do. These concerns, and the expertise of wildlife science, tell us we should take on the gray wolf problem in our state by acting again to delist the wolf from the Endangered Species List and pass management of the wolf back to the State of Wisconsin.” Source
If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process.
The push for state management comes after 37 hunting dogs were killed by wolves while in pursuit of bear. These politicians believe that Wisconsins growing wolf population is the cause of these conflicts. Yet there are some that question if wolves are the cause of bear hunting dog deaths.
Adrian Wydeven, retired WI DNR wolf biologist, wrote in an opinion editorial:
“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012). In other words, the wolf populations in 2012 and 2016 were similar, yet these two years represent the highest and the lowest numbers of hounds killed by wolves in the last 13 years. Obviously, there is more to this story than just more wolves killing more hounds.” Source
What could be the cause behind all the wolf depredations of hound hunting dogs if it is not due to an increases in wolf population?
Every summer hound hunting dogs lose there lives in pursuit of bear. This decades old conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues today with no end in sight. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television show that aired in 2010:
Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Recovery of wolves in the state began in the late 1970s.
In 2015 there was a change made in bear hunting regulations and could this be the cause of the increase in wolf depredations of dogs in pursuit of bear? In his recent opinion editorial Wydeven states:
“Could a change in bear hunting policy be a factor? Wisconsin is a major destination for bear hunting and training — with some of the highest bear densities and bear harvest success rates in the nation. Prior to July 2015, people putting out bait and handling hounds used to train on bears were required to buy a Class B Bear Permit. The permit cost residents $14 and nonresidents $110. The permit and fees were eliminated in 2015 and now anyone can freely bait for bears, and train their dogs on bears. This may have increased baiting and training of dogs on bears in Wisconsin, putting more bear hunters and hounds in the hunt, especially from out-of-state residents with the license fee no longer a barrier. ” Source
It’s no secret that there has been a few instances of wolf depredations on livestock, pets and bear hunting dogs. Wisconsin has a wolf depredation compensation program in place to compensate for these loses. For instance; there is a $2500.00 compensation payment to bear hunters that lose dogs to wolves while pursuing bears. There are programs in place to aide livestock owners as well. Watch the following video from the WI DNR wildlife depredations specialist:
In the west wolf advocates and ranchers have been coming together to work for non lethal ways to manage wolf depredation.
“The group’s nonlethal experiment, known as the Wood River Wolf Project, is a collaboration with Blaine County officials in central Idaho, the United States Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and some local partners who support alternative ways of protecting wolves in historic sheep-grazing country. The project covers 1,200 square miles, or around half of Blaine County, up from 120 at the program’s inception in 2008.” Source
I believe we must help Wisconsin livestock producers learn how to live with wolves and so I am working with Ian Whalan, inventor and Fauna Tomlinson, distributer of Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent that is making news all over the world, “Saving Lives with Lights.” Foxlights donated Five solar lights to the Red Cliff Reservation in northern Wisconsin, and I delivered the lights to the Red Cliff Biologist Jeremy St.Arnold. To learn more about Foxlights click HERE.
The recent national and state elections have tipped the scales of power towards one party control. What’s next for Wisconsin’s wild wolves?
US Senator Ron Johnson is preparing to introduce a wolf delisting bill in congress with democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin on board; could mean that other senate democrats will follow her lead, and sign onto Senator Johnson’s wolf delisting bill. Please keep calling your senate representatives and ask them not sign onto any wolf delisting bills or riders.
And, everyone is awaiting the decision on The USFW had a hearing to challenge a Judge putting wolves back on ESL on U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C. Who ruled in 2014 that the removal “was arbitrary and capricious and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.” That was held on October 18, 2016.
“Led by the Humane Society of the United States, environmentalists challenged the rule, arguing that FWS couldn’t designate a population segment under the Endangered Species Act just to turn around and remove protections. They also charged that FWS couldn’t show that wolves would be adequately protected from disease and human harm across a “significant portion” of their range without federal protections.” Source: HSUS
If management of wolves is returned back into the state’s hands things must change about how they manage them.
Senator Tammy Baldwin said in her statement:
“Delisting the wolf should not mean removing it from the landscape, but restoring a greater balance in rural communities. Many Wisconsinites have deeply felt beliefs about how the wolf population should be managed, and the health of the wolf population is of unique significance to Native American Tribes. I believe those debates deserve thoughtful and careful consideration by state and tribal wildlife experts, following a federal delisting.” Source
Please keep up the “positive” calls to Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office. It’s not to late to change the Senator’s mind about delisting the wolf.
If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Wisconsinites must work together in the wolf management process. First things first; The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted and this law must be removed.
2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states: If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.
The Wisconsin public must be fully vested in the process of wolf management. When wolves were delisted in 2011 the Wisconsin legislature rushed in to create a wolf hunt. It’s no secret that the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association’s hands were all over the wolf hunt legislation.
After removing the wolf hunt bill, act 169, Wisconsinites can begin the discussion or debates as to how best to manage wolves. This means listening to scientific evidence and leaving political rhetoric out of the debate on wolf management. We must find ways to live with wolves. A wolf hunt is not a way to manage an endangered species such as the iconic wolf.
First of all, stay positive & work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. Stay in contact with your state and federal representatives.
Wolves have a positive impact on Wisconsin’s landscape. During the Wisconsin premiere of the award winning documentary “Medicine of the Wolf” Q&A panel discussion panel member Randy Jurewicz answered an audience question about wolf’s impact on CWD, watch the following video:
Stay positive & please continue taking action for wolves:
Keep writing letters to the editor, keep calling your state and federal legislators, and call President Obama and ask him to veto extinction and to stop the attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Click here for ways to contact the White House
If ranchers around the West don’t make more use of nonlethal deterrents to predation on livestock, they risk losing access to the public lands they need, a conservation-minded sheep rancher said during a presentation on the subject last week in Ketchum.
At The Community Library on Thursday, Brian Bean, co-owner of Lava Lake Lamb, described the tools and techniques provided to ranchers by the Wood River Wolf Project, which seeks to save the lives of both livestock and wolves. The project was begun nine years ago by the group Defenders of Wildlife, but was handed over last year to the nonprofit Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation, of which Bean is a co-founder.
In 2014, the Idaho Legislature created a $400,000 fund to pay for lethal control of wolves preying on livestock, which is carried out upon request by Wildlife Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That fund was reauthorized in 2015 and 2016. In addition, using money provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state compensates ranchers for at least half the value of livestock lost to wolf depredation.
Bean said the ease by which ranchers can obtain free lethal control actions reduces their motivation to try nonlethal deterrents first.
“The system is set up to make it so easy to kill predators,” he said.
However, he said that system may be contrary to ranchers’ long-term interests as the public becomes less tolerant of predator control.
“There’s a much greater risk of public lands disenfranchisement than they believe,” he said.
To motivate ranchers to use those deterrents, the Wood River Wolf Project makes free “band kits” available to the five sheep operators who graze their animals on Sawtooth National Forest allotments, along with free instruction.
“We make it as easy as possible for the ranchers, so they don’t have any reason to say, ‘No, I don’t want to use these nonlethal tools,’” said project Coordinator Avery Shawler in an interview.
The 10 band kits available contain numerous items to scare wolves, including about a dozen flashing Foxlights, air horns, a starter pistol with 200 rounds of blank ammunition and small cylindrical boom boxes. The Wolf Project also provides “turbo fladry”—red flags strung along a solar-powered electrified wire to surround the outside of a band of sheep at night, as well as sleeping bags, pads and tents for herders to sleep with the band when it’s at too high an elevation to pull their camp trailer up.
Bean said the mostly Peruvian herders enjoy being with the sheep and don’t want to see them killed.
He said use of nonlethal deterrents has contributed to a reduction in wolf depredation on Lava Lake Lamb herds from several per year to one event every two or three years, as well as to fewer sheep being attacked each time.
“For us, we feel that it won’t be necessary to use lethal control, and for anyone who takes time to learn nonlethal [deterrents],” he said.
In about 2012, the Wood River Wolf Project was the first entity in the United States to use the Foxlights, a product invented by Australian sheep rancher Ian Whalen. The lights, set up among a band of sheep or other domestic animals, flash at random intervals to mimic humans walking around with spotlights that they are pointing in various directions while guarding their animals.
Whalen attended the presentation Thursday, which was intended primarily for him to demonstrate his product.
He said that in Australia, the main predator of sheep is red foxes, a non-native animal brought to the continent by the British to provide sport for hound hunting.
“Since then, they have decimated many of our small [native] creatures,” he said.
Whalen said ranchers have traditionally used 1080 poison and night shooting to kill foxes. Still, he said, they often found dead lambs in the morning.
“Quite clearly, it wasn’t working,” he said.
Whalen said that while he was lying in bed one night feeling too lazy to go outside and scare off foxes, it occurred to him that maybe he could set up lights that just made it look like he was out there. His first idea was to use the red flashing lights set up to warn drivers at road construction sites. He tried that, and it helped, he said. The he went to an electrical engineer and asked him to design a light that flashed randomly and switched from white to blue to red. He wanted the lights to come on automatically when the sun dims and shut off at dawn. Thus was born the Foxlight.
Whalen said that due to his invention, he hasn’t killed a fox since 2006.
The Foxlights come in two versions—a solar-powered light for $129 and a battery-powered one for $89 for use in forested areas with little sunshine.
Whalen said he’s sold about 30,000 Foxlights in Australia—as few as one light to people who just want to guard one chicken coop to as many as 60 to a rice farmer having problems with large flocks of ducks eating his crop.
Whalen said experimental use in the United States indicates that the lights are effective against coyotes and mountain lions, but they haven’t been tried with bears. He said the Foxlights don’t work against coyotes or other predators living in urban areas that are accustomed to seeing lots of lights.
Bean said the Foxlights are one of the top two or three tools that the Wood River Wolf Project uses, though he emphasized that effective deterrence requires the use of numerous approaches.
“One of the things you have to accept with these intelligent canid predators is that they will become habituated,” he said.
Whalen said the lights have been used in Nepal to deter predation by snow leopards, and, for a while, in Pakistan.
“The Pakistani Army confiscated them all on the theory that they might be some kind of landing system for drones,” he said.
Recently, he has donated lights to wildlife-conservation projects in Africa. He said the lights have proven effective at deterring lions and leopards, though not jackals.
In Mozambique, he said, the lights are being used as part of a project by conservationists to keep elephants and hippos out of the local villagers’ vegetable gardens and predators out of livestock corrals. In Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, the lights play a similar role to help maintain the wildlife that draws tourists.
“That makes me proud,” he said, “that my little baby is doing something for the wider world. Overall, I don’t know how far my lights are going to go.” Source
A solar-powered Foxlight is intended to fool predators into thinking that humans are up and about at night around a band of sheep.
“It is my belief Foxlights have the potential of assisting in the saving of many endangered species around the world.” ~ Ian Whalan
Ian Whalan is a sheep farmer from Austrailia. He invented Foxlights so he could sleep through the night, because it was too bloody cold out there to check on the sheep. Before he invented Foxlights, he had no choice but to go out to scare off the foxes using flashlights. He noticed that the foxes would run away from the lights. In other words, this was where Ian Whalan got the idea to invent Foxlights in 2008.
Foxlights mimic a human patrolling crops or livestock at night to keep predators away.
www.foxlights.com Foxlights are helping livestock producers coexist with snow leopards “As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders. These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.”(Source: National Geographic)
Watchthe following video of how Foxlights are being used for snow leopard conservancy in Nepal
Video Published on Jan 27, 2015! Shortened version of snow leopard conservancy video showing how Foxlights are being used in Nepal
Foxlights are saving lives in Africa
“Foxlights has the possibility to protect endangered animals. This tool is an inventive way to keep animals such as elephants and lions away from crops and livestock. This type of protection is new to Africa and has the potential to change the way people protect this type of endangered predator.” ~Ian Whalan
Watch the following video on how Foxlights are helping farmers keep African elephant out of their crops
In Wildlife and Wolves, A Guide to Nonlethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflict by Defenders of Wildlife discusses How Foxlights stops human-wary predators from approaching, read on: “A new device called the “Foxlight” avoids easily detectable patterns so that night predators do not quickly become accustomed to it. The Foxlight uses an intermittent series of lights in varying, random flash patterns to simulate human activity, such as someone moving a torch around, which stops human-wary predators from approaching.
Foxlights are still being tested in the field, but their effectiveness for reducing livestock losses appears to be short-term (30 days or less). Like other deterrents, Foxlights and similar devices may work best as a temporary deterrent or in tandem with other deterrents. Evidence also suggests that they may be more effectively used proactively to prevent predation rather than reactively to deter an ongoing problem.” (Source)
“Foxlights deter nighttime attacks by mimicking the appearance of a person patrolling pastures with a flashlight. Their dusk-to- dawn solar-powered sensors randomly flash LED lights at 360 degrees and can be seen up to a half mile away. Foxlights have been used successfully around the globe to protect livestock and crops from a variety of species including snow leopards, wolves, elephants, foxes and coyotes. Foxlights attach easily to existing fencing and are best placed where livestock bed down at night.” (source)
Contact information for Foxlights
FOXLIGHTS INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD
Address : 7/22-24 Sarsfield Circuit
Bexley North, N.S.W. 2207, Australia
Phone : +61 29150-9509
www.foxlights.com Foxlights Shopping & Retail on Facebook
Fauna Tomlinson believes in the bright idea of saving lives with lights so much that she is helping to distribute Foxlights around the world. You can reach Tomlinson firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-386-3311
email@example.com Let’s see what happens when Wisconsin begins using the 25 Foxlights they just purchased. I’ve been in contact with them and will keep track of how they are working to save the lives of wolves. ~Rachel Tilseth