I saw this note from Extension Agent Dale Rollins come
across another listserver (WDAMAGE). He talks about an excellent
program they have put together down there to have farmers, landowners,
and others explore the role of predators in farming landscapes.
I contacted Dale and asked if I could crosspost his note, to which he
agreed. If you would like more information about these kinds of
proactive events, please contact Dale Rollins at his email address
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
> Date: Fri, 9 Jun 1995 14:47:18 -0500
> From: Dale Rollins <d-rollins@TAMU.EDU>
> Subject: Predator Appreciation Days
As the old shrimper asked Forrest Gump when Gump shelled out $25,000
for an old shrimping rig "are you crazy, or just plain stupid." That
was the reaction that I got from several colleagues, county Extension
agents and superiors last year when I began to plan for a series of
educational programs called "Predator Appreciation Days" (PADs).
However, after just completing the 6th and final program, I am proud
to report that I'm still alive and not suspended with my feet tied to
a fence post along a west Texas road. Some of you may find this
programming concept applicable to your region if predators are as
controversial as they are in west Texas (the heart of sheep and goat
production in the U.S.) with a very conservative clientele.
A PAD is a full day (7 hours) of training aimed at increasing
knowledge and awareness of predator biology, ecology, and "sociology"
(i.e., human dimensions). The "appreciation" theme focuses in on "to
judge with heightened perception" or "to become sensitively aware
We reached a total of nearly 1,000 producers (>95% agricultural,
mostly ranchers) during the six meetings. The good crowds were due
in part to the fact that the PADs offered 6 CEUs (Continuing
Education Units that are required of all private pesticide
applicators in Texas). Comments and evaluations were as positive as
any I've received in 12 years of extension education. Many ranches
commented that they "appreciated" the opportunity to receive CEUs on
subject matter more useful to them than, e.g., IPM in cotton.
I only know of one animal activist in attendance (at the 1st meeting
in Ozona, TX). A reporter from Friends of Animals attended, and
privately said he "appreciated" what we were trying to do. His
appreciation didn't extend to his newsletter report however!
A typical PAD began with a lab "practical" on interpreting physical
evidence of predation, complete with a 25 question test, just to get
everyone in the right frame of mind (i.e., having them realize they
don't know everything about the subject!). From there we have slide
presentation covering the biology of common predators in the area,
including coyotes, bobcats, fox, mt. lion, feral hogs, and raptors.
Hands-on demonstrations of control alternatives are given, including
both lethal and non-lethal approaches. One special topic included
the role of predators in zoonoses (particularly rabies). About two
hours of the curriculum is taught via videotapes, including topics on
Livestock Protection Collars, feral swine, using livestock guarding
dogs, and illicit use of pesticides for predator control.
User ethics are discussed (per Robert Schmidt's preliminary "code of
ethics for wildlife damage professionals" as amended by me to address
predators specifically). Finally, the day ends with a viewing of the
video "A Matter of Perspective" which hopefully puts the whole day's
activities in perspective.
PADs were joint ventures of TAEX, Texas Animal Damage Control
Service, and the Texas Dept. Health. We're contemplating modifying
the PAD concept and taking it to an urban audience (e.g. Austin).
Are we crazy, or just plain stupid?
Please let me know if I can provide additional information for
assisting you in conducting PADs in your region.
Extension Wildlife Specialist
Texas Agricultural Extension Service