University of Maine Cooperative Extension is partnering with USDA Wildlife Services to offer a predation event tracking form for farmers to report damage to livestock.
The predation event tracking form is online (umaine.edu/livestock/related-resources/report-predator-damage-of-livestock). USDA Wildlife Services will use the data to plan and implement effective control measures, and farmers and others will be able to receive annual reports of predator losses by county. The information could help farmers prevent losses through improved management and preventative measures.
The impetus for the predation event tracking form came from the Maine Sheep Breeders Association, which identified the need to help farmers report their losses.
Maine has nearly 20 million acres of forests and open space for wildlife to thrive in and these species play important roles in the ecosystem. Wildlife is wonderful, but some species can play a major factor in the success or failure of livestock operations in Maine. Farmers throughout the state typically lose poultry, sheep, goats, calves and other animals to both aerial and four-footed predators. These predators include coyote, weasel, bobcat, opossum, skunk, black bear, hawks and owls.
Predator pressure on livestock operations depends on several factors. Knowing the prevalence of predators — where they are and what they are attacking — can be key in minimizing losses.
For more information on predator management, contact USDA Wildlife Services in Maine, 207.629.5181.