Is lethal control of predators an effective strategy against livestock losses?: Ceres hunting club, 1979 to 1987
Farmers the world over get emotional about predators. In South Africa an absolute war erupted around Cape Nature’s recent restriction of the lethal control options available to farmers. Farmers’ position is that they cannot afford to stop hunting predators, while Cape Nature has indicated that indiscriminate killing must be stopped for predator populations to have any chance of stabilising. In the face of these widely diverging opinions we have surprisingly little hard evidence of the effect of predator hunting on subsequent livestock losses in South Africa. This paper uses a 152-farm nine-year panel of predator hunting and livestock loss data to explore whether lethal control is effective in reducing farm-level livestock losses. Results show a positive relationship between lethal control and subsequent livestock losses which provides some support for the Cape Nature position.