How to humanely protect your garden beds: Evaluating the effectiveness of humane wildlife deterrents


  • Mya Baptiste


Urbanization has resulted in an increase in human-wildlife conflicts (Schell et al., 2020).
With this, it is important to identify means of mitigating such conflicts in a way that promotes coexistence
between humans and urban wildlife. A common human-wildlife conflict within urban
landscapes is the damaging of garden beds from animal foraging. In this study I aimed to identify the
most effective and humane way to mitigate this conflict by evaluating the effectiveness of several humane
wildlife deterrents. To do so, unique feeding stations were placed around the yard of a suburban home in
Vancouver, British Columbia, each protected by and testing a deterrent. The deterrents tested were garlic
powder, coffee grounds, noise makers, dog hair and bird mesh. I predicted that bird mesh would be most
effective at preventing wildlife from taking food from the stations and that the amount of food taken from
stations would differ according to which deterrent it was protected by. However, across all six trials
performed only one piece of food was taken from a station. With this, we could not statistically support
the notion that any of the deterrents were more effective than the others. Some possible underlying causes
for the lack of feeding observed are discussed, the most likely being that local fauna had no need to seek
out additional food sources and that the feeding stationed induced a neophobic response in the animals.