Lights, dogs, action! Patagonia project to keep pumas from preying on sheep

Lights, dogs, action! Patagonia project to keep pumas from preying on sheep

A trial using maremma sheepdogs and Foxlights is offering a new way to protect livestock and diffuse conflict with ranchers over the big cats

Arriving at a fencepost protruding like a needle from the grassland, conservation adviser Nicolás Lagos assembles an LED device that will sit atop the pillar and at nightfall emanate an eerie multicoloured display across the frosted Patagonian valley below. The lights emit random 360-degree patterns visible from a mile away. Known as Foxlights they emulate human torch movement and scare away pumas threatening 20,000 sheep at the nearby Estancia Cerro Guido, on the outskirts of Chile’s Torres del Paine national park.

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