Wildlife control operators (WCOs) are individuals that charge a fee to resolve problems customers have with vertebrate (i.e. a spine or backbone) animals. In this regard, WCOs are very much like pest control operators (PCOs), who help clients with insects (animals that lack a backbone) such as cockroaches and bedbugs. You may know that PCOs are regulated but are their any WCO regulations?
What most people don’t realize is that in many states, WCOs have few regulations and in some instances virtually none. In other words, the WCO you hire may not have any official training in wildlife control and may not even have a business license. This is one reason why I believe, WCOs should be regulated. But there are also other reasons.
I recently gave a talk at the 25th Annual Conference of the Wildlife Society in Cleveland, OH (Oct 11, 2018). There I explained that state wildlife agencies that ignore regulating WCOs are not fulfilling their responsibilities to follow the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Wildlife control operators handle thousands if not tens of thousands of animals every year. Where are all those animals going? Are they being translocated, relocated, dispatched? If moved, what are the environmental impacts of moving those animals to new locations? If the animals are being dispatched, are there guidelines for dispatching and disposal of carcasses? I recognize that the animals typically being controlled are not in danger of becoming extinct. But there should be some oversight given the volume of wildlife being handled on an annual basis.
Unfortunately, many WCOs oppose regulation. They mistakenly think that regulation is automatically bad. In fact, regulation means the government has an interest in protecting your work. The solution to bad regulation is not no regulation but good regulation. But that is a topic for another blog.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.