Public Regards Wildlife as Pests

USA TODAY, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Public Regards Wildlife as Pests


The public increasingly is becoming less tolerant of growing wildlife populations, asserts a nationwide survey of fish and wildlife agencies. As the number of species such as bear and deer continue to expand and contact with humans becomes more frequent, people are beginning to view wildlife as pests. According to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA), 75.7% of state agencies reported they feel the public is becoming fed up with the burgeoning presence of wild animals.

"This is an unsettling statistic showing that people may be losing respect for wildlife," worries John Baughman, executive vice president of IAFWA. "It is important for people to maintain a mix of reverence, respect, and wonder for wildlife."

Wildlife professionals stress that being able to use management techniques--including hunting and trapping--helps maintain a balance between the numbers of people and animals. State agencies point out that the greatest increases in deer populations are where hunting is not allowed or access to land is limited, such as urban and suburban communities.

"It is our experience that sometimes hunting and trapping are the best methods for conserving and managing our nation's wildlife resources," contends Bob Carmichael of Manitoba Natural Resources in Canada and chairman of the committee that developed the report, "Bears in the Backyard, Deer in the Driveway 2004.

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