Wildlife management is often thought of in terms of protecting, enhancing and nurturing wildlife populations and the habitat needed for their well-being. However, many species at one time or another require management actions to reduce conflicts with people or with other wildlife species.
Wildlife damage can be caused by wild animals to livestock, crop sand other types of private and public property. Damage by wild animals to ornamental plants, buildings, roads and other structures can be serious. Some of the most costly problems are caused by house mice., Norway and roof rats, beavers and deer. Wild animals are reservoirs of diseases, presenting a threat to other wildlife populations, to domestic animals and to human health. Also public safety is at risk from automobile and aircraft collisions with wildlife.
Effective techniques for controlling damage from wild animals does not exist for all situations. While some people usually enjoy having wild animals near their homes and are willing to tolerate moderate damage from wildlife, others choose to control wildlife damage. Remember that before you act on your own, collect information about the life history of the animal causing the problems, the legal status of the animals and suggestions for safely controlling damage. The Ford County Extension Office can assist you with gathering this important information and making a knowledgeable, research-based decision.
Use extreme caution when approaching or handling a wild animal; especially one that looks sick or abnormal to guard against those diseases contracted directly from wildlife. Procedures for basic personal hygiene and cleanliness of equipment are important, since they become a matter of major health concern when handling animals or their products that could be infected with disease agents. Some important precautions are:
- Wear protective clothing when working in wildlife areas or with wild animals.
- make sure to use proper hygiene and cleanliness rules while and after working with wild animals.
- Avoid eating and drinking while handling animals and wash hands thoroughly when finished.
- Safely dispose of any carcasses or tissues as well as contaminated disposable items, i.e. plastic gloves, aprons, tarps.
- Cook meat from wild game thoroughly before eating.
- Contact a physician if you become sick following exposure to a wild animal or its habitat. Inform the physician about your recent activities, including location and time spent.
Equally important preventive measures are knowledge of the diseases present in the general area and the specific habitats and times of year that present the greatest risk of exposure. Knowledge and recognition of the early symptoms of diseases and conditions of exposure are essential in preventing serious illness.