“Innovating Predator-Livestock Non-Lethal Tools: Radio-Activated Guard Box 2.0”
The radio-activated guard (RAG) box was developed in the late 1990s as a visual and acoustic device to deter predators from killing livestock in small pastures. However, the RAG box design had never been standardized and devices were expensive, lacked protection for sensitive radio-collar frequencies and were prone to malfunction and user error. To address these issues, we partnered with engineers and multiple state wildlife agencies in 2020-21 to develop the RAG box 2.0. The engineers developed the first schematic for a RAG box and created a more reliable, innovative, secure and cost-effective device which boasts new features such as: password-protected access to radio-collar frequencies, data log of radio-collar ID/date/timestamp and a radio notification system that alerts humans when radio-collared predators trigger the device. During the spring and summer of 2021, we conducted preliminary field tests to evaluate the efficacy of this updated non-lethal tool in Washington and Oregon. These results will help determine the appropriate uses of this tool and add to a growing body of scientific studies that support the use of humane tools for predator-livestock conflict resolution.
Zoë Hanley is a Representative for Defenders of Wildlife’s Northwest Program based out of White Salmon, Washington. She leads Defenders’ coexistence initiatives in the region, working directly with communities sharing the landscape with imperiled species like grizzly bears and gray wolves. For the past decade, Zoë has worked to deepen human understanding of carnivore ecology and develop strategies for human-carnivore coexistence. Before joining Defenders, Zoë worked as an independent consultant in Washington identifying opportunities to study non-lethal deterrents for gray wolf depredation on livestock and monitoring relocated beaver colonies. For her PhD dissertation she collaborated with state wildlife agencies, ranchers, and other stakeholders in the Northwest and Rockies to forecast areas at risk for livestock depredation by gray wolves in Washington. Prior to that, she studied fisher and marten populations in California for the U.S. Forest Service, conserved rare ecological and geological resources for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and surveyed anglers’ views of river otter expansion in North Dakota for the IUCN River Otter Specialist Group.
Zoë has a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University and a Masters in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University.