Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for

 

Date of this Version

2005

Comments

Published in Proceedings of the 11th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (D.L. Nolte, K.A. Fagerstone, Eds). 2005.

Abstract

The Wildlife Master (WM) Program in Colorado was modeled after the highly successful Master Gardener volunteer program. In 10 highly populated suburban counties with large rural areas surrounding the Denver Metro Area, Colorado State University (CSU) Cooperative Extension Natural Resources agents train, supervise and manage these volunteers in the identification, referral, and resolution of wildlife damage issues. High quality, research-based training is provided by university faculty and other professionals in public health, animal damage control, wildlife management and animal behavior. Inquiries are responded to mainly via telephone. Calls by concerned residents are forwarded to WMs who provide general information about human-wildlife conflicts and possible ways to resolve complaints. Each volunteer serves a minimum of 14 days on phone duty annually, calling in from a remote location to a voice mail system from which phone messages can be conveniently retrieved. Response time per call is generally less than 24 hours. During 2004, more than 2,000 phone calls, e-mail messages and walk-in requests for assistance were fielded by 100 cooperative extension WMs. Calls fielded by volunteers in one county increased five-fold during the past five years, from 100 calls to over 500 calls annually. Valued at the rate of approximately $18.00 per volunteer hour, the leveraged value of each WM was about $450 in 2005, based on 25 hours of service and training. The estimated value of the program to Colorado in 2004 was over $45,000 of in-kind service, or about one full-time equivalent faculty member. This paper describes components of Colorado’s WM Program, with guides to the set-up of similar programs in other states.