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photo: Shepherd

Since large carnivores are naturally wary and typically avoid encounters with people, protecting and monitoring livestock herds with a shepherd is another tool that reduces the risk of livestock losses to carnivores and has been used effectively for centuries. In Slovenia, this prevention measure is preserved only in some high mountain areas where shepherds use stalls for milking cows—the result is a value-added yet indirect way to also protect the livestock from carnivores. In other parts of Europe, especially in the western and central parts, shepherding is largely absent as form of animal husbandry. The key techniques that help improve livestock protection from carnivores include night-penning (enclosures) and human presence.

Advantages Weaknesses
The constant presence of a person deters the predators. The shepherd must take time to be present at the herd.
Regular inspection of the shepherd over the herd and the surrounding area, as well as immediate response to the presence of predators.
Shepherd should maintain the enclosure of the electic fences and take care of the livestock guardian dogs.

Most common mistakes

  • Shepherd is not present constantly; animals are not protected during the time of the shepherd’s absence.
  • The shepherd does not close up the (entire) herd into the night enclosure.
  • The night enclosure is not protected properly.