Teton Conservation District

What is Human-Wildlife Conflict?

Traditionally, rural residents, such as agricultural producers, have experienced the majority of conflict with wildlife, including damage to crops, timber, and other resources.  Terms including animal damage control, and problem wildlife management, described the actions taken to minimize losses, and the relationship between humans and certain wildlife.  Shifts in demographics of humans, changes in types and distribution of animals, increased protections placed on wildlife, and other factors have increased conflict at the doorstep of urban residents.  The development of issues facing the public has not only changed the naming of the issue to Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC), but has also resulted in changes to problem-solving strategies. 

HWC may be aesthetic, economic, or social.  It results from direct contact to wildlife, or from regulation or policy.  Conflict may occur directly between wildlife and humans, amongst humans over wildlife issues, or a combination thereof. 

Traditional approaches to wildlife management mainly focused on direct management techniques including hunting, trapping, and poisoning, as well as indirect management, such as habitat alteration.  These approaches did not always address political, moral, and other considerations, resulting in additional approaches to address HWC.

What are examples of HWC species and interactions, nationwide and within TCD’s boundaries?

Several examples of pervasive HWC species across the U.S. include the Canada goose, coyote, and beavers.  As ecosystem engineers, beavers are capable of habitat modification second only to humans.  Coyotes have long been at odds with agricultural producers, and have been successful due to their adaptability.  Canada geese can cause noise and waste management problems in developed areas.

Local HWC species and their interactions include the common raven, black bear, and pine beetle. These species may disturb trash receptacles or other attractants, and cause rapid changes in vegetation. 


What is the cost of HWC?

HWC has various, and extensive, costs.  Damage can occur to timber, through vehicle collisions, to crops, by way of aviation bird strikes, and from predation to livestock. Costs have been coarsely estimated at $3 billion annually (Messmer, 98). 


Resources:

These papers are recommended for further reading on HWC:

Creating Coexistence between Humans and Wildlife:  Global Perspectives on Local Efforts to Address Human-Wildlife Conflict
Human Dimensions of Wildlife:  An International Journal.  Volume 9, Issue 4, 2004.

Public Demand for Information and Assistance at the Human-Wildlife Interface
Human Dimensions of Wildlife:  An International Journal.  Volume 11, Issue 4, 2006.

This link provides information on refuse management, recreation, fencing, and other topics relative to living with predators.
Living With Predators Resource Guides