Livestock producers in Manitoba suffer annual losses due to attacks on their livestock by some species of wildlife such as black bears, coyotes and wolves. General information on the prevention of attacks on livestock is available on the Lowering the Risk of Attacks on Livestock by Common Predators Fact Sheet. Additional information about preventing wolf attacks on livestock is available in "Wolves and Livestock: A Guide to Non-Lethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflicts", published by Defenders of Wildlife. Manitoba also offers programs that can assist with costs to the producer for the prevention of livestock predation:
Livestock guardian dogs remain with the livestock herd and aggressively repel predators. They have been used for centuries in Europe and Asia for herd protection. They also assist in preventing diseases such as liver flukes and tuberculosis from spreading from wildlife to livestock. Common breeds of livestock guardian dogs include Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz and Maremma. Proper training of livestock guardian dogs is required to ensure they bond with the herd and not with people. It is recommended that dogs work in pairs so that they are able to protect each other as well as the herd, particularly when faced with a pack of predators. In areas of heavy wolf pressure or for larger herds of livestock, multiple pairs of dogs are recommended.
Under the Growing Assurance: Food Safety On-Farm Program, financial assistance for purchasing livestock guardian dogs is available from Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Program information and application forms are available at Manitoba Agriculture website.
Producers should be aware that it is illegal under The Wildlife Act of Manitoba to allow any breed of dog, including livestock guardian dogs, to chase after wildlife such as deer and elk. Enforcement action may occur if dogs leave the herds they are protecting to harass wildlife.
Removing or securing attractants such as food compost, pet food and livestock mortalities reduces the attraction of predators to the area and does not encourage them to linger or frequent the area where livestock are kept.
While composting of livestock mortalities is beneficial in preserving nutrients that might otherwise be removed from the area, it is important that composting be done in a secure site that prevents animals from accessing it; this helps to achieve biosecurity and prevents predators from becoming habituated to the area and food conditioned to consuming livestock.
Under The Environment Act, a secure site for composting livestock mortalities is a secure storage room, covered container or secure location. Under the Growing Assurance: Food Safety On-Farm Program, funds are available to assist with the cost of securing livestock mortalities compost sites. Funding is provided by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Program information and application forms are available at Manitoba Agriculture website.
Manitoba Sustainable Development has enlisted the co-operation of the Manitoba Trappers Association (MTA) through annual agreements, to provide services for problem predator removal. MTA members have the experience to deliver an efficient and effective service that will benefit livestock producers.
Livestock producers whose livestock has been attacked by predators may register a claim with the nearest Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) insurance office. A claims adjustor will be sent to investigate the attack scene and determine the predator involved. If a claim is initiated, a MASC claim number will be provided to the producer. The claimant may then contact the MTA iin Eriksdale (204-739-2624) for assistance in dealing with the predator problem. By providing the MASC claim number to the MTA, the producer is able to access the Problem Predator Removal Program at no cost to the producer. Upon receiving a report of a livestock predation occurrence, the MTA will assign a trapper to deal with the problem. Since funding is limited, trappers are limited to 24 hours (coyote/fox) or 40 hours (wolf), to deal with a specific claim. The trapper will investigate the problem and utilize humane methods to remove the problem animal(s). In some cases, the period of time may be extended to effectively deal with a particular situation. Producers will also be provided with information that will minimize the potential for future predator problems.
Producers participating in the program will be required to sign a "Waiver of Liability" releasing the trapper and MTA from damage to property or livestock that may occur during the time the problem is being addressed, and be required to keep livestock and pets controlled at all times when sets are placed on their property. Producers will be expected to implement suggested prevention measures and follow good livestock husbandry practices to minimize predation. Failure to accept these responsibilities may result in the producer being denied additional predator control services.
Producers experiencing losses to predators can contact their nearest MASC insurance office to register a compensation claim and acquire a claim number. MASC staff will advise the producer about the Problem Predator Removal Program and have the producer contact the MTA if problem predator removal assistance is desired to address a MASC Claim.