Recently a 2-year-old mountain lion was killed by a federal wildlife control officer because some owners of pet alpacas complained to the local sheriff and Colorado Parks and Wildlife that this lion had killed one of their alpacas. The expense of having the federal game control officer kill the lion is paid for by taxpayers.
This territory is now open for another lion to move in. I am hoping the alpaca owners have learned their lesson about our local predators. I have predators of every kind on my ranch. I take every step I can to protect my livestock of cattle, horses, goats, fowl and domestic pets. I adopt several of the livestock protection breed dogs from the state’s shelters. These are the Akbash, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, Kuvasz breeds. They have been bred for at least 6,000 years to protect livestock. They rarely make good pets, these are working dogs. They use their size, color (white—not natural in the wild environment) and deep, loud bark to drive away predators. They are nocturnal. A couple patrol my ranch at night, sometimes going out several miles if there is a predator around. For the ones not bonded to humans, I have to go out sometimes to find them and take them food. They will park themselves in an area until the predator has been driven away.
In the case of the alpaca owners, they could use these dogs. For the dogs’ safety, it is best to have a pair, so they can better defend themselves against a predator. If there are neighbors who don’t want the dogs around, then the alpaca owners will have to fence their property so the dogs cannot get out. They don’t need a dog that is bonded to livestock. The ones that are bonded to humans will still work, given the opportunity. Once adopted from a shelter, it will take two weeks to two months for them to feel comfortable to work. Give them a chance. I do!
Also, cherry bombs can be thrown out to deter predators. A radio can be left on at night in a barn, motion sensor lights in addition. At dark, the pet alpacas can be put in a secure, ventilated barn, and then let out at dawn. Yes, this is more work but if you want to keep your livestock safe, it’s a necessity if you don’t want the dogs!
When there is a predator around our ranch, sometimes we go out and check on things when the dogs are barking a certain way. Our presence too, scares away predators. We do not want to shoot any predator. A mountain lion is very important to the ecosystem. They prey on the sick, injured, weak, the old, the prey that’s not too bright. If we didn’t have them, herds would become sick and weak. Large die-offs could occur. CPW would lose revenues from hunting, as populations of deer and elk would decline.
This summer, California passed legislation to protect lions from its Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens who kill lions that venture into populated areas, unless they pose an urgent public safety threat. Visit the website for In Defense of Animals for more info.
Go to Petfinder.com and search for a livestock protection breed to adopt. In Show Low, Ariz., there are 20 Kuvasz dogs – puppies to 12 years that have been confiscated from an irresponsible breeder. Contact: petalliesaz.org Contact me, too; I am often fostering one for any of four local shelters. These are not dogs for your backyard in town. If you see a big white dog or two, leave them alone, don’t approach them and please don’t feed them! They are working!
I wonder if Pennsylvania has any mountain lions left….
– Brenda Miller, Roubideau Rim Wildlife Rescue, 501c3, Green Place Ranch, LLC; Olathe, CO 81425