Do swing gates prevent black-backed jackal from entering commercial sheep farms?


  • PL Cunningham Environment and Wildlife Consulting Namibia


black-backed jackal, fences, Namibia, predator control, swing gates


Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) are responsible for much loss of small livestock throughout Namibia, but especially so in the predominantly sheep farming regions of southern Namibia. Impermeable fences, colloquially termed jackal-proof fences, are used by small-stock farmers to prevent jackals from accessing their land. Access through jackal-proof fences is mainly facilitated by specialist burrowing species, although black-backed jackal are also capable of burrowing under fences themselves. Installing swing gates and maintaining artificial holes are simple ways to encourage burrowing species to use these thoroughfares while minimising the maintenance of fences. A study to determine the effectiveness of swing gates in excluding black-backed jackal was conducted on a farm in southern Namibia over a 5 month period. Nine other species were confirmed to use burrows fitted with swing gates while black-backed jackal were not found to utilise these swing gates at all, although probably will learn to do so over time. The biggest advantage of using swing gates is the decrease in fence maintenance activities which was reduced by almost 90% during this study.






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