Every year farmers lose livestock to predators, which translate into a large income loss for these farmers. In Namaqualand, these losses are sorely felt, as many of the farmers are subsistence farmers. In order to protect their livestock and their income, traps are set for jackal and caracal. However, at least 80% of the animals caught in these traps are non-target species (such as; leopard, cheetah, aardwolf, small cat species, mongoose and even tortoise) and many creatures suffer painful and unnecessary deaths.
Enter the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. This dog originates from Turkey, where local shepherds have it used it to protect their flocks from wolves and bears for thousands of years (and continue to do so, today).
Anatolians bond with the livestock at a young age and are extremely protective of their charges. If the flock is threatened it will defend them ferociously; however, the Anatolian Shepherd will not hunt predators or chase them over a large distance and leave the flock unguarded. Usually a battle with a predator is unnecessary though, as the dogs’ imposing presence and warning bark is enough to keep most of them at bay. Farmers in Namaqualand who have Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, report a drastic reduction in the loss of livestock. Those who previously lost 30-40 sheep per year are now only losing 1-5 per year.
From a conservation perspective, using the dog instead of traps increases the chance of survival of small mammals on private land. This is good for the genetic pool of park wildlife, as the animals interbreed across land borders. Finally, fewer small mammals, entering and leaving the Namaqua park, will be killed by traps and this benefits the whole of the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breeding Project Kennels