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Professional use of pesticides in wildlife management an overview of professional wildlife damage management

  • Author(s): Fagerstone, Kathleen A.
  • et al.

Wildlife damage management is an important, often neglected, part of the wildlife management profession. Wildlife sometimes cause significant damage to agricultural crops and livestock, forests, rangelands, private and public property, other wildlife and their habitats, and urban and rural structures. Wildlife can also threaten human health and safety. Prevention of wildlife damage may involve use of pesticides and drugs. These include anticoagulant toxicants, acute toxicants, fumigants, repellents, frightening agents, aversive conditioning agents, contraceptives, immobilizing agents, and use of herbicides to alter habitat. This discussion will focus on the Wildlife Services program as professional users of pesticides and will examine the types of pesticides used, the reasons for their use, the magnitude of vertebrate pesticide use, and will touch on the degree of hazard inherent to those uses. Risks to wildlife associated with use of vertebrate pesticides are usually less than those associated with use of conventional herbicides and insecticides— amounts used are small, use sites are limited in area, and vertebrate pesticides generally show some specificity in their action. Also, rather than managing vertebrate pests on a population level, the trend in current wildlife management is to deal selectively with problem animals or problem situations on a local basis.

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