Indirect costs of sheep depredation by large carnivores in Sweden

Last changed: 04 February 2021

Publ. 2019. ABSTRACT: Carnivore depredation gives rise to direct costs for killed and injured animals as well as indirect costs due to productivity losses and additional labor requirements. Our aim was to investigate indirect costs to sheep farmers in Sweden due to carnivore depredation and presence. We estimated these costs using survey data describing conditions in 2013. Reproduction and time spent on fence maintenance and taking care of animals were analyzed to isolate effects of carnivore exposure from other factors that affect these variables. Results indicate that both high carnivore densities and attacks are associated with comparatively lower sheep reproduction. Farmers who experienced an attack spent much more on labor for maintaining fences, searching for lost animals, and bringing the animals in for the night. Results suggest that the indirect cost per adult female sheep is EUR23 for nonattacked herds in areas with high carnivore densities; EUR71 in herds that were attacked and where sheep are kept on fenced grazing land; and EUR100 on attacked summerpasture farms, where free-range grazing is applied. A flat rate compensation per adult female sheep, differentiated between herds in areas with high carnivore density that have not been attacked and herds that have been attacked could be used to compensate sheep farmers for these costs.

Widman, M., Stéen, M., Elofsson, K. 2019. Indirect Costs of Sheep Depredation by Large Carnivores in Sweden. Wildlife Society Bulletin.


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