Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for



Date of this Version

October 1997


United States Department of Agriculture/ Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1543. Issued October 1997. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/managing.html


Wild animals are an important part of our environment, and for centuries they have served our needs in a number of ways. Historically, many species were used for food, clothing, or adornment. But in those earlier years, wildlife was seldom managed. Some species, such as the passenger pigeon, became extinct; and other species, like the bison and beaver, became seriously depleted. Today, wildlife continues to provide people with a variety of benefits. Wild animals contribute to our enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities such as camping, hiking, photography, and hunting. The knowledge that abundant wildlife exists is important for many people. Diverse wildlife species are major components of a healthy environment; beavers, for example, can create aquatic habitats beneficial to fish and waterfowl. Wildlife is receiving increased attention as people develop a broadened environmental consciousness. Wildlife is now recognized as having esthetic as well as practical value and is managed by the Federal and State Governments to ensure future abundance. In some instances, however, this abundance has led to conflicts between human and wildlife interests as the following examples illustrate.