Date of this Version
Proceedings of the 14th WDM Conference (2012).
The Wildlife Services Program (WS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, provides federal leadership in managing conflicts between wildlife and humans. The core vision of WS is to improve the coexistence of wildlife and people. The Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 and subsequent amendments provide broad authority for WS to conduct activities involving the control of nuisance mammals and birds and those mammal and bird species that are reservoirs for zoonotic diseases. Resources protected include agriculture and natural resources, human health and safety, property, and threatened and endangered species. WS strives to develop and use wildlife damage management strategies that are biologically sound, environmentally safe, and socially defensible to reduce damage caused by wildlife to the lowest possible levels while at the same time reducing wildlife mortality. WS employees are highly trained professionals who receive ongoing training in regulations and legal requirements (e.g., National Environmental Policy Act, Animal Welfare Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act), the use of firearms and explosives, safety, immobilization and euthanasia techniques, and other areas. WS assistance may be technical (written or telephone consultations, site visits, instructions, media consultations) or operational (site-specific, hands-on wildlife management).