A British scientist in Botswana is experimenting a new way of saving farmers’ cows from lions by painting eyes on their rumps.
Neil Jordan hopes to trick any predators trying to sneak up on the domestic animals into thinking they have been spotted — which he says is often enough for them to abandon a hunt.
According to Dr Jordan, a conservation biologist who works with the University of New South Wales, and Taronga Zoo in Sydney, the idea is to get into the Lion minds and disrupt the hunting process.
Dr. Jordan has labelled the ingenious idea ‘i-cow’ and hopes it will provide local farmers with a low-cost and non-lethal tool to reduce livestock losses without having to kill lions.
In a video posted online, Dr Jordan explained that he is ‘testing the hypothesis that painting intimidating eye patches on to cows reduces predation’.
Lions are supreme ambush predators, they rely on stealth. When seen they lose this element of surprise and abandon their hunt,’ he said.
The scientist has already carried out a small 3-month sample test of his theory, which gave promising results.
‘While 3 out of 39 unpainted cows were killed by lions, none of the 23 painted cows from the same herd were killed,’ he said
Dr Jordan is now fundraising to be able to buy more of the equipment needed to carry out further tests.
African lion populations are in decline throughout most of the continent.
In 1975 there was an estimated 250,000 lions in Africa, yet today the continent wide population stands at a mere 25 – 30,000 individuals.
‘This staggering 80-90 per cent decline combines with the fragmentation and isolation of those remaining sub-populations with little long-term viability,’ World Lion Day reports.