Rodrigues initiated a new standard operating procedure (SOP) at Hopland early this year for predator animal control. The policy involves guard dogs, improved fencing and pasture management to protect sheep from coyotes, rather than shooting the predators. Jim Lewers, senior animal technician at HREC, said the "losses have declined" since the new policy was put in place.
Hannah Bird, HREC community educator, said 10 sheep at the center were killed by coyotes in 2015, while 43 were killed in 2014.
Rodrigues told the reporter that it is hard to attribute declines in animal deaths to a single strategy. She hopes to eventually make Hopland a hub for research and information sharing with local landowners on wildlife control.
That effort begins next week. On Dec. 1 and 2, HREC will offer two separate workshops on wildlife management. The first day will include representatives from USDA Wildlife Services, the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and Defenders of Wildlife. On the second day, local ranchers and UC ANR representatives will speak about their chosen methods of wildlife management. Registration is $30 per day. Registration for the two days is separate, and the deadline is Saturday, Nov. 28.