Evaluating the efficacy of flashing lights in deterring livestock attacks by predators: a case study of Meibae Community Conservancy, Northern Kenya

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Wanjira
Ndiwa
N.Gichuki
Mary

Keywords

Boma; flashing deterrent light; human-carnivore coexistence; livestock depredation; large carnivores

Abstract

Pastoralists living in the arid and semi-arid areas of Africa have for centuries coexisted with wildlife. They frequently share the same environmental resources with wildlife, are exposed to common risks including disease and drought, and in some cases, and are antagonistic to one another, particularly when competing for limited resources. In recent years, negative interactions between wildlife and humans have increased due to the decline of wildlife habitat, which has led to greater conflict. In the Meibae Community Conservancy, there has been a concern in recent years over increased human-wildlife conflict. Retaliatory killings raised concerns for the conservation of carnivore species. This study evaluated the effectiveness of non-lethal mitigation measures, in particular the use of predator deterrent lights, in reducing night attacks on livestock by large carnivores in Meibae Community Conservancy. The study assessed the effectiveness of the technique by determining the number of predator visits using tracks and sightings both at homesteads fitted with light units, and those without deterrents. The findings indicate that homesteads fitted with flashing deterrent lights recorded a lower number of visits by predators (2.4 visits/homestead) compared to those without lights (3.4 visits/homestead). Despite finding no significant difference (p>0.05) in the number of visits for homesteads with lights and those without lights, this study concluded that flashing deterrent lights have the potential in reducing cases of successful livestock attacks at bomas even though predators remained inquisitive. Flashing lights can contribute to the conservation of large carnivores by reducing conflicts between predators and livestock owners.