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Fences cause 'ecological meltdown'
Date:4/3/2014

uccessful in some places but the challenges of appropriate fence design, location, construction, and maintenance mean that fences often fail to deliver the anticipated benefits. Ironically, in some places, fences also provide poachers with a ready supply of wire for making snares.

Co-author Simon Hedges of WCS said: "A variety of alternative approaches including better animal husbandry, community-based crop-guarding, insurance schemes, and wildlife-sensitive land-use planning can be used to mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife without the need for fencing. WCS projects working with local people and government agencies have shown that humanelephant conflict can be dramatically reduced without using fences in countries as different as Indonesia and Tanzania."

Co-author Sarah Durant of ZSL's said, "An increased awareness of the damage caused by fencing is leading to movements to remove fences instead of building more. Increasingly, fencing is seen as backwards step in conservation."

The desire to separate livestock from wildlife in order to create zones free from diseases such as foot and mouth has resulted in extensive fencing systems, particularly in southern Africa. Some of these fences have had devastating environmental effects. Fortunately, it is increasingly recognized that a combination of improved testing, vaccination, and standardized approaches to meat preparation can prevent spread of diseases without the need to separate cattle from wildlife by fencing.

The authors conclude that as climate change increases the importance of facilitating wildlife mobility and maintaining landscape connectivity, fence removal may become an important form of climate change preparedness, and so fencing of wildlife should be avoided whenever possible.


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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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