Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
Wildlife management is often thought of in terms of protecting, enhancing, and nurturing wildlife populations and the habitat needed for their well-being. However, many species at one time or another require management actions to reduce conflicts with people or with other wildlife species. Examples include a biologist trapping an abundant predator or competing species to enhance survival of an endangered species, a farmer excluding deer from an agronomic field that provides a livelihood, or removal of pigeons from a downtown building.
Wildlife damage control is an increasingly important part of the wildlife management profession because of expanding human populations and intensified land-use practices. Along with the growing need to reduce wildlife-people conflicts, public attitudes and environmental regulations are restricting use of some of the traditional tools of control such as toxicants and traps. Agencies and individuals carrying out control programs are being more carefully scrutinized to ensure that their actions are justified, environmentally safe, and in the public interest. Wildlife damage control must be based on sound economic, ecological, and sociological principles and carries out as positive, necessary components of overall wildlife management programs.
Wildlife damage control programs can be thought of as having four parts:
- Problem definition
- Ecology of the problem species
- Control methods application
- Evaluation of control
We must first understand what species is causing the problem, how many are involved, and the amount of loss. We must understand the life history, biology, and behavior of the species. We need to know what control methods are available, including exclusion methods (such as fencing), frightening devices, toxicants, repellents, and harvest. All of these are not options for every species. Generally, combinations of control methods are more effective than use of only one method. This can be termed integrated wildlife damage management.
Mississippi is blessed with abundant wildlife populations, but with these blessings come some problems as well. With a deer population approaching 2 million animals, crops are increasingly being damaged, deer-vehicle collisions are increasing, and even newly established forest are being impacted. Beavers destruction of timber and impoundment levees, fish eating birds impacting the catfish industry, and urban wildlife damage are all on the increase are just a few of the species issues being addressed.
For information about solving problems with wildlife, please see the Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage Handbook.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal.
STARKVILLE, Miss – Many of us look forward to a summer garden every year, especially after a long winter.
Unfortunately, many wildlife species find garden vegetables and plants just as delicious as we do. This leads to a battle -- a battle to keep the fruits of our labors to ourselves rather than providing a meal for the local wildlife.
STARKVILLE, Miss -- It’s a duck, it’s a goose...no, it’s a Cormorant?
The double-crested cormorant is a 4- to 6-pound bird with black or dark plumage. Often cormorants are mistaken for common waterfowl because they are seen swimming on ponds and lakes throughout Mississippi from late fall to early spring. Cormorants migrate each year from the Great Lakes region of the U.S. and Canada to spend their winters on the warm waters of the South. They really are snow birds!
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For an unassuming rodent, the beaver has quite a significant place in American history.
For more than 300 years, the beaver was one of the most valuable fur-bearing animals in North America and drove the fur trade, one of the earliest and most important industries in the development of the United States and Canada.
Often, the person is concerned that turtles are eating his fish. Sometimes the turtles are eating the pond owner’s fish food. Other times, the caller has caught a turtle while catfishing and does not like dealing with the angry reptile on the end of his line. For one reason or another, turtles have a bad reputation in Mississippi ponds. Well, it is time to set the record straight on turtles!