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To a rancher or high-rise apartment dweller, problems with vertebrate pests in suburbia may seem insignificant. But when one stops to consider that last year over 2 million acres of farmland were converted into urban and industrial use, then it takes a different perspective. Some mammals are protected—game animals and fur bearers are usually protected by Fish and Game Departments. Cottontail rabbits, deer, and tree squirrels are examples of game animals, and muskrats, foxes, badgers, and raccoons are examples of fur bearers. In California a number of birds and mammals have no protection; these are English sparrows, American or black-billed magpies, crows, California or scrub jays, Steller's or crested jays, starlings, moles, opossums, coyotes, weasels, skunks, cougars, bobcats, and rodents including ground squirrels, rats, mice, gophers, and porcupines. Other birds and mammals may be controlled under varying conditions (see references). For example, blackbirds may be killed when they are committing or about to commit serious depredations upon ornamental or shade trees or agricultural crops. Still others may be killed under supervision of the Agricultural Commissioners or a permit from the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. Some of these classifications vary from state to state, and if you have any doubt about the legality it's best to contact your state fish and game department, the state department of agriculture, or the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.