Food aversion plus odor cue protects crop from wild mammals
Baker SE., Ellwood SA., Slater D., Watkins RW., Macdonald DW.
Wild mammals cause foraging damage to crops worldwide and nonlethal methods are required for controlling such damage. Many wildlife management situations demand protection of untreated foods. We tested learned food aversion plus an odor cue as a paradigm for protecting untreated model crop items from European badgers (Meles meles). Following conditioning with a combination of ziram and clove oil, badgers avoided untreated maize cobs in presence of a clove odor cue. A clove oil control did not condition badgers. This work has been an important step before proceeding to full-scale field trials for protecting growing crops on a wider scale.