U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

February 2004


Published in Proc. 21th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (R M. Timm and W. P. Gorenzel, Eds.) Published at Univ. of Calif, Davis 2004. Pp. 3-7.


Current issues in wildlife damage management and the protection of human health and safety arise from the successful application of traditional methods by state and federal managers. The paradox is that these same methods are increasingly controversial. Within this constraint, management strategies may be difficult to implement. In California, for example, protecting state-threatened foxes could mean killing federally protected golden eagles. In Utah, restoring Gunnison sage grouse may require the sustained lethal suppression of predator populations unless or until habitat can be restored. The obvious fact is that these are unpopular choices, and special interest groups frequently oppose selective intervention, promoting instead somewhat neo-Romantic interpretations of ecosystem management. Lucidly for the species involved, the motivating biological facts remain. The need for wildlife damage management is now a necessity in many instances, and the discipline is experiencing geometric growth. The real challenge is to make the best possible choices despite the controversies, within the already developed fabric. This presentation focuses on the conditions that USDA Wildlife Services is making to these efforts.