The primary objective of any damage control program should be to reduce damage in a practical, humane and environmentally acceptable manner. Wildlife Command Center managers and wildlife control technicians use control methods based on the habits and biology of the animals causing damage. By using methods matched to the nuisance species, damage control efforts will be more effective and will serve to maximize safety to the environment, humans and other animals.
A key to controlling wildlife damage is prompt and accurate determination of which animal is causing the damage. Even someone with no training or experience can sometimes identify the pest by thoroughly examining the damaged area. Because feeding indications of many wildlife species are similar, other signs – such as droppings, tracks, burrows, nests or food caches – are usually needed to make a positive species identification.
After the wildlife pest is identified, damage control methods can be chosen appropriate to the animal species involved. Improper damage control methods may harm but not kill the animal, causing it to become leery of those and other methods in the future. For example, using traps and poison baits improperly or in the wrong situation may teach the animal that the control method is harmful. This may make the animal difficult to control later, even with the correct method.
- Four steps lead to a successful nuisance wildlife damage control program:
- Correctly identify the species causing the damage.
- Alter the habitat, if possible, to make the area less attractive to the wildlife pest.
- Use a control method appropriate to the location, time of year, and other environmental conditions
- Monitor the site for re-infestation in order to determine if additional control is necessary.