Human Disease and Wildlife Disease
Many people like to live in the country to get “closer” to nature. While love of wildlife and wild lands is commendable, it is important to recognize that risks accompany the back-to-nature movement. Just consider the following quote, from a USGS publication “Disease Emergence and Resurgence: The Human-Wildlife Connection:
“According to Dr. Mark Woolhouse from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), humans are plagued by 1,709 known pathogens, 832 of which are zoonotic (49 percent). Of the156 of these diseases that are considered “emerging,” 114 are zoonotic (73 percent). On the list of high-priority agents of concern for bioterrorism activities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 80 percent are zoonoses (CDC A and B lists). Therefore, the wildlife-human-domestic animal connections are nearly impossible to ignore when investigating wildlife disease.” Elsewhere I have heard that of the 335 novel infectious diseases reported between 1940-2004, 60.3% came from animals, typically wild ones. For example, SARS, the serious respiratory infection came from horseshoe bats.
So in light of these statistics, what should people do?
How Wildlife Transfer Diseases to Humans
First, they should consider the various ways diseases from wildlife transfer to humans. According to the USGS publication chapter 1, diseases from wildlife are transferred to humans through
- Consumption of infected wild game
- Contaminated mouth parts and claws of animals
- Arthropod bites
- Contact with infected wildlife
- Contact with infected water
- Ingestion with infected water
- Aerosols from infected environments
- Laboratory acquired infections
Tips to Reduce Risk of Contracting Diseases from Wildlife
The second step is to reduce your risk to wildlife infections. The strategy is straightforward, if not always easy to implement. You simply need to decrease your exposure and contact to diseases through the following ways. Note these tips are NOT exhaustive and should not be construed to guarantee protection from wildlife diseases.
- Learn to identify risk bearing situations
- Understand disease life-history
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment
- Undergo vaccinations (if available)
- Avoid disease vectors, such as insects that carry disease
- Thoroughly cook food
- Drink clean or sanitized water
- Wash hands and body after contact with wildlife and wildlife contaminated areas, particularly when exposed to bodily fluids.
- Inform your doctor that you have been involved with wildlife when you encounter flu-like symptoms. (Doctors don’t typically think of zoonotic diseases when patients exhibit flu-like symptoms).
- Consult CDC.gov for more information.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Professional (CWCP) by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) and writes and speaks on wildlife related topics.
14th Wildlife Damage Management Conference
April 18-21, 2011
Lied Lodge & Conference Center
Nebraska City, NE
|Sponsored by the Wildlife Damage Management Working Group of the Wildlife Society|
Invitation to Attend and Participate
Please let us extend to you a cordial invitation to attend and participate in the 14th Wildlife Damage Management Conference in beautiful Nebraska City, NE.
This conference, now guided by The Wildlife Society, is the descendant of the former Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop (1973) and the Eastern Wildlife Damage Management Conference (1983) and will be held in the spring of odd-numbered years.
Who Should Attend?
In the past, conference participants have varied greatly in both experiences and professions. Different as they may seem, they all are brought together for a common goal of finding solutions to human-wildlife conflicts.
Past participants have included….
Animal Control Personnel
Extension Specialists and Agents
Natural Resource Managers
Public Health Biologists
State and Federal Wildlife Mangers
Structural Pest Control Operators
Wildlife Control Operators
Topic sessions will include the following subjects…
- Human Dimensions of Wildlife Damage Management
- Feral Swine
- Large Carnivores
- Wildlife Diseases
- Invasive Diseases
- Bird Airstrikes
- Urban Coyotes
The Wildlife Society is also offering certification credits for attendees, and many techniques and research results will be presented.
Call for Abstracts
We hope to have a record-setting WDM Conference this year, but we need your help!
Manuscripts or posters are not limited to the subjects listed above. Other submissions on contemporary wildlife damage management topics will be gladly accepted and reviewed also.
On a single page, submit a presentation title, author’s name(s), and affiliation(s) followed by a single-paragraph Abstract/Summary . Following the abstract, identify the contact person by name, mailing address, telephone, and email address. Please indicate if this is a student presentation. Your presentation may describe work currently in progress.
Format the page as follows:
- Software: MS Word
- Margins: 1” all around
- Font: Times New Roman, 12 pt.
- Spacing: Single
- Justification: Left
- Word Limit: 300
Please email your submission to the address below as an attachment to an email message. The subject line should read, “2011 WDM Abstract.”
Email Abstract to:
Univ. of Missouri
Phone (573) 882-4337
You will be asked to submit a manuscript for the Conference Proceedings, and your presentation should not have been published elsewhere.
Poster presentations are encouraged, particularly from graduate and undergraduate students. If you wish to submit a poster for the Conference, please submit an Abstract/Summary as indicated previously and request the guidelines for poster preparation.
A limited number of scholarships will be available for students and agency employees.
For details contact:
Scott Hygnstrom Shygnstrom1@unl.edu
Space will be available at the Conference site for the exhibition of commercial producs and services. If you are a potential exhibitor and wish for more information, contact:
Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln
414 Hardin Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0974
We’ll be taking an all-day field trip to the Offutt Air Force Base, Fontenelle Forest & Henry Doorly Zoo to see and discuss issues of wildlife damage management on Monday the 18th. Limit 50.
Registration Deadline Date April 3, 2011: A background check will be required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Monday: April 18, 2011
Morning: Field Trip
Evening: Welcome Reception
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Morning: Opening Plenary Session
Afternoon: Special Topics
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Morning: Concurrent Sessions
Afternoon: Urban Coyotes
Evening: Conference Banquet and Speaker
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Urban Coyote Damage Management Workshop
Workshop-Urban Coyote Management
We will host an all-day workshop that addresses hands-on techniques for dealing with urban coyotes, including habitat modification, trapping, shooting, public relations , and the press.
Limit: 40 People.
Contact email@example.com for details.
Abstracts due February 15, 2011
Paper acceptance notice on or around February 28, 2011
Hotel Registrations due March 28, 2011. Hotel 800-546-5433 “Wildlife Damage Management Working Group.”
Conference registration Deadline April 3, 2011.
Conference Registration Online 402-472-3471 MC/Visa accepted.
Student and one-day registrations available.
For more information visit our website. Registration details will be available soon.
5 Tips for Effective Box or Cage Trapping
Many people, including some professional pest/wildlife controllers, think that live trapping wildlife is easy. Cage and box trapping (mistakenly referred to as live trapping when footholds and cable restraints are also live trapping) consists of using wire-based enclosures (cage traps) or solid wall enclosures (box traps) to capture wildlife. While it is true that the use of these devices is simpler than using footholds, the use of box/cage traps still requires attention to detail.
Here are five tips to make your use of cage/box traps more effective in resolving wildlife complaints for your clients.
Tip #1. Select the smallest size trap for the target animal.
Cage traps come in a variety of sizes and styles. It is best to choose the smallest size trap necessary for the animal you are planning to catch. For single door traps, choose 10x12x32; skunk 7x7x24 inches and squirrel 5x5x18 inches. These dimensions can be modified for different manufacturers but they provide a good guide. Small traps are less expensive and more of them will fit in your truck but the most important advantage is that they reduce non-target captures. Why set a skunk-sized trap when trapping for squirrels? Using a larger trap, increases the risk of catching a skunk or opossum or something else that isn’t the target animal your client has hired you to control.
Tip #2. Use the right bait
Failure to use enough traps means that you are not taking advantage of the time-benefits provided by traps. Traps work even when you are not around. I recommend setting at least 3 per job, more if you can. This allows you 3 trap nights for every 24 hour period where placing only one trap gives you only 1 trap night per 24 hour period. Think of it as more hooks in the water.
Tip #4 Choose the right location(s)
As they say in real estate, property is all about location, location, location. The same concept applies to trapping. Don’t make the animal move to your trap, move the trap to the path of the animal. Never make the bait do what moving the trap will do for you. Now of course, there are situations where the best location isn’t prudent, perhaps because children, pets, or the nosy public will interfere with your work. In those situations, you should still look for where the animal is likely to travel and find a more secluded spot. If that isn’t possible, then use a trailing lure available at professional trapping suppliers.
Tip #5 Follow the right setting procedure
Avoid sloppy setting procedures. Even though cage/box traps are more forgiving than footholds, you still need to stabilize them to keep them from wobbling when the animal enters. Wobbly traps can spook animals and sometimes cause the trap to spring prematurely allowing the animal to back out.
In addition, you must ensure the cage/box trap is humanely set. Contrary to popular mythology, cage/box traps can be quite cruel. Trapped animals can bake in the summer sun, or freeze in a driving ice-storm. So think about where you put your traps. Will they be shielded from the sun/rain. Chances are no. But simply covering 50% of the trap’s length with a sturdy cloth cover provides the animal with shelter from wind, rain, and sun. It also protects the bait from prying claws, forcing the animal to enter through the entrance to get the bait.
There is much more to effective box/cage trapping but these 5 tips will help remove a number of key mistakes made by wildlife control professionals.
Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACP
Stephen provides consulting services to the public, wildlife control professionals, and others on issues related to wildlife damage management. He is available for conferences, workshops, and private training.