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Human-Wildlife Interactions

Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation

Promoting conflict mitigation tools for small-scale livestock producers and owners

Keeping animals safe from predators is an important part of animal welfare. This program provides education on the most effective techniques for preventing livestock depredation by local wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions. I am working in collaboration with other researchers to test new strategies to discourage predators from predating on small stock.

Better understanding the risks of predators to commercial livestock production

LGD with flock
The size and scale of a livestock operation can have associated logistical and financial challenges for protecting livestock from predators. Techniques that may be effective for a small-parcel livestock owner may not work for on an open range system and vice versa. In collaboration with UCCE colleagues and livestock producers, this program is conducting research on effectiveness of nonlethal tools such as livestock guardian dogs on commercial operations.

Bay Area Carnivore-Livestock Interactions Project (BACLIP)

Dr. Whitesell is Co-PI on BACLIP, a project that is in collaboration with Panthera, UC Santa Cruz's Puma Project, and CSU. This project is testing nonlethal deterrents for protecting commercial livestock from mountain lions and coyotes. 

Mountain Lion Movements and Behavior in Areas East of Interstate 280 in San Mateo County

This project is a collaboration between UC ANR, UCSC's Puma Project and CDFW. We aim to further our understanding of movements and behavior of mountain lions that use the area east of 280. If you live east of 280 and have security camera footage of mountain lions, please contact Dr. Whitesell.

Selecting a Livestock Guardian Dog Puppy

Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) are an effective tool for keeping livestock safe from carnivores. But puppy selection is a critical first step towards successfully using an LGD in a production setting.

LGD puppies
 While appropriate bonding during the first 12-18 months of a dog’s life is important, pups with an inherent genetic predisposition for guarding livestock are more likely to become successful adult LGDs. Furthermore, physical traits (like hair coat, color, mature size, etc.) are preset by a pup’s genetics. Keep in mind that LGD behaviors are greatly influenced by how they are treated during the first year of their life. This fact sheet will help you select an LGD pup that will most likely fit your particular needs. Learn more

General Public Outreach on Wildlife

Educating the general public on how to coexist with neighborhood wildlife

How do I keep myself, my children, and my pets safe from coyotes and other wildlife that I see on my street? What is normal coyote behavior? How do I protect my garden from gophers? These are common questions that people face throughout the Bay Area. This program provides educational materials and information to empower individuals and inform how they can live safely alongside their wild neighbors.

Vertebrate Pest Management

Protecting infrastructure and properties from CA ground squirrels and other burrowing rodents

Ground squirrel

California ground squirrel burrows can threaten the integrity of infrastructure and can be a safety hazard for both people and animals. This program works with agencies, 4-H, pest control companies, and the general public to promote best management practices to effectively manage CA ground squirrels and other burrowing rodents.

Have questions? Need advice?
(650) 224-4679
Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor
San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Are your animals safe from predators?

Protecting your animals is an important part of ownership – and good stewardship! Learn more