Date of this Version
In recent years Connecticut, like many other northeastern states, has experienced dramatic suburban encroachment into woodland and farmland areas. The expansion of human population and the accompanying habitat alteration have resulted in a substantial increase in the frequency of wildlife/human conflicts. The Department of Environmental Protection's Wildlife Bureau, mandated to respond to the needs of the people as well as the wildlife of Connecticut, is the state agency given the responsibility of controlling nuisance wildlife problems. Although the Wildlife Bureau provides free technical assistance and educational material, in many cases landowners are either unwilling or unable to resolve nuisance wildlife situations without direct assistance. In 1986, the Wildlife Bureau established a program which uses state-trained and licensed individuals to respond to nuisance wildlife complaints. These individuals, called Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCOs), are entitled to advertise and charge fees for services provided. In essence, the NWCO program is a user-pay system since the person experiencing problems bears the cost of services provided. The Wildlife Bureau administers the program by training and licensing NWCOs, monitoring their performance and establishing and enforcing policies which govern their activities. Fees and rates of payment are not regulated by the Wildlife Bureau, however NWCO licenses may be revoked in the case of unsatisfactory or unethical performance. A review of the program after one year of operation indicates that the NWCO program has successfully addressed the problem of suburban wildlife control in Connecticut by supplementing other established nuisance wildlife programs.