Skip to main content

wildlife services

Keeping Airline Passengers and Wildlife Safe: APHIS and its Partners Work to Identify Best Management Practices for Wildlife Repellents at Airports

A variety of wildlife species—from birds to rodents and rabbits—often visit airport environments leading to safety concerns for both wildlife and airline passengers. Collisions between wildlife and aircraft have increased in the past 30 years because of an increase in both hazardous wildlife species populations and aircraft movements. To help reduce the risk of these potentially dangerous interactions, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) biologists provide airport operators across the Nation with advice and recommendations on how to keep runways and flight paths clear of wildlife.

Montana Range Riding Aids Ranchers, Mitigates Conflicts

As silvery moonlight washed across the Montana meadow, it sent long shadows over the grass. Tonight, I didn’t need the gentle clang of the grazing bell to tell me where the horses were feeding. My leggy quarter horse was as brightly silver-white as the full moon. The distant lowing of cows across the meadow confirmed that all was well. Somewhere in the distance, a wolf pack was probably making evening rounds, but tonight they likely wouldn’t visit this meadow. I swung up into my horse trailer’s tack room and wriggled into my sleeping bag as my dogs made way for my arrival. The next morning I’d rise at daybreak and head toward the sound of the cattle.

World Rabies Day

Did you first learn about rabies through the children’s book or movie “Old Yeller”? Rabies has changed drastically over the last century in the United States, moving from a majority of cases occurring in domestic animals like the literary canine hero, to a disease occurring predominantly in wildlife. That makes rabies a significant wildlife management challenge in the U.S. today, and a reason the United States Department of Agriculture and our partners in rabies prevention and elimination recognize World Rabies Day on September 28, 2020. This is a day of global action that started in 2007 to raise awareness for rabies prevention and to enhance control efforts worldwide.

USDA and Partners Work to Eliminate Invasive Nutria From Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Word has it that legendary actress Greta Garbo could be seen wearing nutria fur coats back in the day, and nutria fur coats can still be found in vintage clothing stores around the world. Nutria, sometimes called swamp rats, were first introduced into the United States in the 1800s to be used in the fur trade. However, when the fur trade collapsed in the mid 1900’s thousands of nutria were released by ranchers who could no longer afford to feed and care for them. This invasive rodent, about half the size of a beaver, damages wetland ecosystems by eating away at their delicate vegetation. Nutria have since been found in at least 20 states.

Bear Proofing Your Home: Simple Fix Can Reduce Bear Conflicts

Like the famous cartoon character Yogi Bear, black bears are quick to take advantage of food left out by people. Black bears forage on garbage, bird seed, dog food, and other food items commonly found around homes and businesses. This has led to an increase in conflicts between bears and people in cities and towns across America. Unfortunately, these conflicts often end badly for the bears with many being killed or moved to prevent injuries to people and property damage.

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Odin is a Labrador retriever/border collie mix. By watching his wagging tail and alert expression, Colorado State University researcher Dr. Glen Golden can sense he is eager to begin his training.

Odin is one of five dogs recently adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers to become detector dogs for wildlife disease surveillance. The dogs are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect and identify waterfowl feces or carcasses infected with avian influenza (AI). If successful, this collaboration may be extended an additional 12 months.

Feral Swine Eradication in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge: Protecting Endangered Species from Feral Swine Damage

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge encompasses 37,515 acres of riverine, riparian, wetland, and desert upland habitats protecting one of the last remaining natural stretches of the lower Colorado River along the Arizona and California borders. The refuge is an important breeding ground and migratory flyway stopover for over 300 species of birds.