Date of this Version
The Center for Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution, located at Virginia Tech, was created in mid-2004 to bring together representatives of state and federal agencies, private sector practitioners, non-governmental organizations, researchers, educators, and other stakeholders common to most human-wildlife conflicts as a means to facilitate and expedite the process of attaining realistic and publicly acceptable solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. The Center has four critical missions: coordination, information transfer, research, and training. Participating partners (i.e., members) in the Center adopted upon an Advisory Board organizational model and operate under a “majority rule” protocol. Increased awareness and understanding of the missions, regulatory mandates, and responsibilities and limitations of each member organization were an immediate outcome of early coordination efforts; knowledge of the experiences and individual strengths of partners immediately helped to improve relations among participating members and strengthen both the services provided and competitiveness when seeking funding support. A reduction of duplication of effort among agencies and organizations, reduced costs, and development and delivery of a consistent, science-based message to clients are other benefits realized to date. A new educational web site was developed and immediately has become the “go to” resource for information on human-wildlife conflicts in the Commonwealth. Training and education programs for professionals have been designed and offered to improve the quality of service available to the public and to enhance the professional development of practitioners (i.e., attaining and/or maintaining professional certification). Although the circumstances that lead to the creation of this Center in Virginia may not be present or similar in all states, the approach of using an impartial, unbiased, third party entity to unify and coordinate the response taken to such conflicts may be of interest to other states.