He lives in Maine in the United States. But his ancestors are from Turkey. They have for centuries been the guardians of sheep, working alongside their shepherds. Sharing here a short video of the life they continue to live there. Note the relationship they have with their shepherds, and how the very young pups are incorporated into the flock along with their adult companions. Note the spiked collars the adult dogs wear for their protection. Click below:
At our Common Ground Fair in Maine this past September, two of our leading farmers and myself (Geri Vistein, wildlife biologist) were scheduled to give a presentation titled “Sustainable Farming with Carnivores.” The farmer who spoke just us before asked what we were going to speak about, and when we mentioned the title of our presentation, his immediate response was “Oh, you are going to teach how to CONTROL the carnivores.” I answered by gently saying that we were going to help assist our farmers to coexist with carnivores successfully.
So in that context I would like to share this link regarding research on just this topic. This farmer’s immediate response is evidence of what these researchers have found. It is a good read to help us think about our relationships with the “Others.”
Wanting to share a true life happening that took place last week during the destructive California fires
ODIN a Great Pyrenees guardian dog refused to leave the baby goats he had been guarding, despite the explosions, heat, and the fast moving fire that forced his family to evacuate. The family returned, finding their way past police barricades and still dangerous areas, intent on seeking Odin and the goats…..with thoughts that they were all lost to the fire. But once back they found Odin weak, whiskers singed, limping, his white fur all yellow and burned paws with the small goats surrounding him. Not only that…..young deer sought Odin’s protection as well.
THIS IS THE COURAGE OF GUARDIAN DOGS. THY WILL SACRIFICE THEIR LIVES FOR THOSE THEY ARE TO PROTECT.
*Odin will have a full recovery, thanks to his caring family
OUR FARMERS ARE DAILY NEEDING TO LEARN THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO CARE FOR AND SUPPORT
GUARDIAN DOGS IN THE IMPORTANT ROLE THEY PLAY
Below is a link to a valuable facebook group “Learning about LGDs” Very experienced breeders and long time owners of these guardians often answer questions that are posed. One of those is Jan Dohner, who we have highlighted here on our Network. It is good to have a place to go to support each other.
INTELLIGENT CARNIVORES LIKE COYOTES ARE LIKE US IN SOME WAYS, BUT THEIR LIVES ARE NOT LIKE OURS AT ALL.
HOW ARE THEY LIKE US? Parents teach their young ones what they need to know to survive. Coyote pups who grow up in a stable family where their parents teach them who their prey are and how to hunt them, do not view livestock as their food source. Coyotes who do not grow up in a stable family…those whose parents are killed when the pups are too young…..have not learned who their prey are, nor how to hunt them successfully…they are always hungry!
So you want to keep stable coyote families on your farm.You want them to eat their wild prey, and never get a taste of your domestic animals.
HOW ARE COYOTES’ LIVES DIFFERENT FROM OUR LIVES: STARVATION IS THEIR TRAVELING COMPANION! And this is especially the case with coyotes who do not live in a stable situation.
SO ~ PLACING ANY DOMESTIC ANIMAL PARTS OR DEAD ANIMALS OUT BEYOND YOUR PASTURE IS A VERY DANGEROUS UNDERTAKING. You are giving them a taste for your livestock! In this context, never allow anyone in your community to bait coyotes on your farm.
KEEP OUR COYOTES AND OTHER CARNIVORES WILD! THEY HAVE WORK TO DO IN THE ECOSYSTEM OF YOUR FARM.
COME JOIN US IF YOU CAN~ On June 28 at 7:00 PM
in Darrows Barn at the Damariscotta River Association’s Round Top Farm, Damariscotta, Maine.
A panel discussion about the challenges and rewards involved in bringing back large apex predators, specifically cougars back to their native habitat (and their expanded range as Coyote) here in the North East. How can human communities adapt to co-exist with and benefit from their presence. Included in the panel are outstanding author Will Stolzenburg, Maine’s federal biologist, Mark McCullough, and Chris Spatz of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.
AS FARMERS ~ DO NOT LET THE CARNIVORES REMAIN STRANGERS TO YOU.
What do forests have to do with the success of your farm? Actually ….a great deal!
The forests on your farm play an important role in keeping your farm healthy and protecting life on your farm from disease. First of all, the forests are refuges for the carnivores, who are important in balancing their prey populations, (herbivores) who can have a serious affect on the landscape if their populations are not balanced.
These herbivores can also diminish the homes of important bird species that control insects on your farm.
So we encourage you to pick up this wonderful book pictured above. it will open a whole new world to you, and you will never look at your forest in the same way.
And speaking of important birds whose homes the predators keep available to them ~ the following is a delightful link that speaks about what your wintering birds – namely our chickadees and nuthatches – do to keep your trees healthy and insects in check. (Though they are referring to the trees in the West, it all holds true for our trees in the east)