Date of this Version
A total of 138 nuisance wildlife control operators (NWCO) attending a wildlife control operators short-course were surveyed for information about their business and attitudes regarding management of urban wildlife problems. One hundred and thirty-one (94.9% response rate) returned the survey. Seventy-two percent of the respondents operated a nuisance wildlife business. Of these respondents, 47.7% also operated a full-time pest control business. Over 65% of NWCO had been in business <5 years and 89% reported their business was successful as a result of either increased nuisance animal problems, satisfied customers, a growing customer base, enjoyment of their work, or by providing a high level of service. Over 30% of NWCO had annual billings >$ 100,000. Respondents based fees on either the animal species and number removed, on a contract or flat fee basis, or based on time and number of trips required to resolve the problem. A large majority of NWCO use live-trapping and releasing off-site as the preferred method of controlling wildlife pests because of customer desires or for public relations reasons. Over 95% of respondents did not believe euthanization should be required for all animal species, but a majority indicated euthanization should be required for pest birds. Fifty percent believed nuisance wildlife should not be released back into the environment because of the potential to spread disease. A small percentage felt wildlife should not be relocated for humane reasons, yet a majority felt that reduction of pain felt by an animal was very important. The majority felt NWCO should be certified or licensed and that in-service training, a trapper education course, an examination, and possession of general liability insurance should be required for operating as a NWCO. This information suggests: 1) that the NWCO industry is growing rapidly, 2) NWCO support state agency policy requiring education, licensing, and liability insurance, and 3) there are problems between NWCO actions and wildlife professionals regarding the fate of live-trapped nuisance wildlife.