Prevent mammals accessing potential wildlife food sources or denning sites to reduce nuisance behaviour and human-wildlife conflict
Overall effectiveness category Likely to be beneficial
Number of studies: 2
Background information and definitions
Some mammals will utilize food, denning sites or other resources in human modified environments in such ways that risks them being regarded as exhibiting nuisance behaviour. Such behaviour might include damaging property, creating mess, causing noise disturbance or posing a perceived threat to humans. If mammals can be excluded from such situations, such as through electric fencing, this may reduce human-wildlife conflict and might, thus, reduce motivations for carrying out lethal control of such animals.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 2004 of 10 forest sites in Minnesota, USA (Breck et al. 2006) found that installing electric shock devices prevented American black bears Ursus americanus from accessing or damaging bird feeders. Bird feeders protected by electric shock devices suffered less bear damage (none of 10 was accessed or damaged) than did unprotected feeders (four of 10 accessed or destroyed). Two imitation bird feeders were installed at each of 10 sites, ≥30 km apart. One feeder was protected by an electric shock device, the “Nuisance Bear Controller”. This device had two 6-volt batteries wired to an automobile vibrator coil/condenser, emitting 10,000–13,000 volts through a disk when contact was made by an animal. The other feeder was unprotected. Ground around each feeder was cleared to enable identification of bear signs. Feeders were in place from 1 July to 15 November 2004. They were monitored, and bait replenished, at least weekly.Study and other actions tested
A before-and-after study in 2006 on a building in Switzerland (Kistler et al. 2013) found that electric fencing excluded stone martens Martes foina from the property. The rate of martens passing through gaps into the building’s attic after electric fence installation was lower (0.1 martens/day) than before the fence was installed (1.9 martens/day). It was lower still (0 martens/day) after the fence was modified. The property, built in the 1950s, was used frequently by martens, resulting in serious damage. Two electric fence types were deployed: wire mesh net for larger gaps and electric wire strands for small openings. Marten movements were monitored by video camera from 12 June to 27 July 2006. This covered nine nights before and seven nights after fence installation and 10 further nights after a crevice was modified by adding an extra electric wire strand. Checks were made for marten re-entry over a further 103 nights, by monitoring for bait removal and for faeces.Study and other actions tested