Webinar presenter John Griffin answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Urban Wildlife 101. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Could you repeat the number of species that you referenced earlier?
John Griffin: When the Department of Wildlife in DC, every 10 years, they do an assessment and they come up with – in every state and DC did the same thing. And it was something like 240 species of birds, 29 mammals. Something like 22 amphibian species? The whole array of invertebrates
Audience Question: Should Animal Control agencies deal with wildlife calls at all? Or should they be being referred over to like fish and game departments?
John Griffin: I think what we’re seeing is that need is there for sure. I think what’s happening is there’s an expectation on behalf of the public that they’re going to reach out to animal care and control, the agencies that provide those services. They’ve become, in essence, that, you know, sort of the default prevents smaller organizations themselves. And that’s the trend and I think that is an important thing to do to equip with some basic resources to help people deal with, not only what they may be perceived as a conflict, but also like real conflicts when they do get excited and it’s important to develop the response as well as the community. Many times they’re not conflicts, it’s just a lack of awareness that these animals even exist or belong here. I think raising that the general educational level of the community, with your constituents, is important and over time that will tend to reduce the number of calls and responses that you go on. Because the Department of Game and Fish and less Department of Wildlife, those agencies, unless it’s a species that they want to be contacted about like bear, cougar, like species like that, that can present a potential threat or harm to humans. They want to be involved in those responses. But I think for this other huge chunk of whether it’s groundhogs or, or pigeons, or starlings, or raccoons, or coyotes, or foxes, then it’s important to have developed these resources and put them in place if you can, those policies for response are the resources to help you respond. And we have a lot of that at our, if you connect to our wall neighbor’s pledge, those are the kinds of resources we were trying to continue to build and provide you to the professional community, so they’re better equipped to be able to respond to those kinds of things. So the short answer is yes, they do.
Audience Question: Is there was any way that we could get a printout of the urban conflict charts.
John Griffin: Sure, just email me and I can get it to you.
Audience Question: Is there a format similar to the presentation that you just did, that ACOs either can use or link to, to help educate our communities to alleviate public concerns? Where do we even start, to start helping our communities understand accept wildlife, understand how to respond. No, it’s not a disaster. You’ve got a raccoon in your front yard, things like that. Where do we even start to begin educating the public?
John Griffin: Yes, it’s tough. It is important to do and get to work with other community agencies or public-facing agencies that are providing advice or responding to these issues. That everybody’s on the same page that you’re sort of elevating the information making people aware, whether it’s by providing talks or hosting, website content. Some cities have embarked on a campaign like New York City has this great campaign called Wild New NYC and they present and talk about the species that live there and why they do and to have a basic understanding of how to coexist, but also what to do when conflicts arise. So we have on our wildneighbors.org site, we have all the species profiles for the animals that you might encounter, and some more specific resources that are in regard to addressing conflicts that are shared by the community. If it’s geese or beaver or coyote and kind of a conflict management template that can help a community respond better put in place policy and responses are that better for the animal, better for in a sort of long term coexistence and more effective as far as a solution. Working with providing the public- doing educational outreach, sharing the things on social media, ratcheting down the temperature on some of the fear on some of these animals being more clear about what the risk of rabies in any of the wild animals are, what the response should be, getting that out there to the public for their consumption and whatever channel and whatever way you can, I think is really helpful. And we’ll continue to work, developing resources. Maybe there’s something we could do that would be helpful – as a movie or something we could share on social or as a presentation. If people are interested, we will definitely talk to the rest of the team and see if there’s maybe a resource we can put together that that might be helpful in that regard.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Urban Wildlife 101.