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"Humane" Trapping

“Humane” is not necessarily “no-kill”!

A majority of wildlife complaints by homeowners occur during birthing season when animals seek suitable environments in which to raise their young. Inadvertently, humans provide denning and food sources for such animals, and our homes replaced a LOT of natural vegetation. When opportunistic creatures move in people too often react with apprehension and fear borne of misunderstanding. Most human/wildlife conflicts can be effectively and permanently resolved without resorting to killing or relocating our wildlife neighbors.

Property owners who are disturbed by the presence of wildlife may hire a commercial pest or nuisance animal control firm to deal with the situation. The methods utilized by these poorly regulated businesses may be costly, inhumane, temporary, and result in the death of the animals and its offspring. In most states, wild animal control operators do not have to comply with any humane trapping or handling standards when dealing with wildlife complaints, nor do they have to have any special training or experience to market their services. Uninformed homeowners may be easily duped into paying for services that don’t solve the conflict permanently or result in a “behind the scenes” death of the animal by bludgeoning, drowning, or injection with commercial solvents after being transported off-site. Animals are also sold to hunters who use the animals as live-bait training for hound-dogs that are used to hunt and kill other animals.

Your may see a Live trap being used by a company, but that may be the last "humane" act that animal will experience.

Unfortunately, wildlife complaints are too often handled by targeting the symptom rather than the problem. For example, removing a squirrel from an attic while neglecting to seal up all entry holes, simply provides a nesting site for yet another squirrel. “Quick-fix” measures of removing and/or destroying “nuisance” animals, without consideration of their natural behaviors, often results in orphaned youngsters which suffer a slow death or end up needing substituted care by humans.

“Nuisance” is not a new species! Wildlife animals are sentient creatures, also part of our natural world; they are simply attempting to share it.

Read about The Rebranding of Fur Trapping

Contrary to the repeated assertions touted by nuisance animal control operators (or "pest control", driven by huge profit margins) there are non-lethal solutions available to resolve wildlife conflicts. The best method for encouraging a wild animal mother to relocate her entire brood from a conflict site is to make the accommodations less hospitable. In some instances, this can be accomplished by simply making eye contact with the mother when she is in her chosen den site. Fearing for the safety of her offspring, she may quickly choose to move her infants to an alternate site. Other strategies include utilizing bright lights, disruptive noises and loud music, or obnoxious odors which will send a message to the mother that the area is no longer conducive to raising her young. Appropriate deterrent strategies are generally determined by the type of animal involved and specific circumstances. Understanding a given species’ natural behavior increases the success rate of these remedies.

Once the animal has safely vacated the den site, appropriate repairs or exclusionary devices must be utilized to prevent animals from moving in again, possibly that very evening! Don't waste your money otherwise.

If you insist on hiring help with a wildlife conflict, do your research! Some organizations such as Wildlife Removal USA may offer a directory of wildlife control professionals that agree to high standards of humane wildlife treatment, but ultimately these companies are hard to regulate or police. When hiring such services, you must ask about their practices. Always focus on prevention and exclusion first! Avoid cage trapping, and never hire a company that uses poisons, glueboards, lethal traps, or other inhumane wildlife control practices.

It’s important to stress that trapping and relocating so-called “nuisance” animals is another “quick-fix” remedy which fails to treat the underlying problem. It also often results in the demise of the relocated animal and its family of now abandoned offspring. Studies by wildlife specialists have shown that the majority of artificially relocated wildlife fails to survive when released into new territories.

Relocated animals are subjected to stress in establishing unfamiliar territories defended by resident animals, and may be killed or suffer starvation. Furthermore, their abandoned young fall victim to predators or succumb to starvation.

Relocating wildlife may also spread disease and is illegal in some states. If live trapping is the only alternative available, survival rates are far higher with on-site releases. The conflict is now resolved if further den access has been curtailed. Animals released on-site are familiar with their surroundings and are part of an established territory. Structural repairs, or exclusionary devices that prevent re-entry into previous or new denning site areas, is paramount!

Read more about inhumane glue traps and inhumane rodent poison, two of the worst, (and most ineffective) approaches to wildlife conflicts, and learn how exclusion alternatives are far more effective and humane to animals.

Past articles:
Georgia Coyote Challenge
Raccoon Hunting
Resolution 69 Parks Service Wildlife Management
How to get squirrels out of the attic