Definitions of Key Terms and Acronyms for the Wildlife Control Industry
Wildlife damage management is a relatively young industry having come into its own in the early 1980s.
So it is understandable that the public isn’t as familiar with wildlife damage control terms and acronyms the way they may be regarding terms of the pest control industry. It is a glossary that will continue to grow. If you have questions on the terms listed below or want some added, please contact me through this site.
Associate Certified Entomologist. This certification is granted by the Entomological Society of America. It is designed to show a higher level of dedication on the part of the pest control operator to be knowledgeable about his/her industry and trade.
Academy Certified Professional. A certification gained from attending a 5 day training seminar in Indiana. The training is no longer available since 2008.
A philosophical view which holds that animals (those with the sentient ability to feel pain) should be granted rights analogous to those given to humans. These rights would include the right to freedom from harm caused by humans against animals. This view rejects the notion that humans have a moral right to eat, wear, or use animals for our purposes as such behavior treats animals as means rather than as ends. See Animal Welfare.
Animal Rights Protest Industry
Stephen M. Vantassel’s label for animal rights activists who deliberately use spin, incomplete truths and unreal arguments to scare and shame the public into opposing responsible wildlife management.
The philosophical view (in opposition to Animal Rights) which holds that humans may use, eat, and wear animals provided the animal is treated with respect and reasonable effort is made to minimize the pain and suffering experienced by the animal when being harvested, raised, or hunted by humans. Animal welfarists believe animals do not deserve similar rights to those of humans but do deserve to be treated with dignity as a feeling creature. This respect, however, does not diminish humanity’s right to eat, kill, ride, and use animals for our needs and recreation. Pain and suffering incurred by the animal should not be wanton or for mere amusement of the human but should be minimized (as much as reasonably possible) by the person harvesting the animal.
Blind set is a method of trapping that relies on location of the trap to catch the animal. It doesn’t use bait or lure to attract the animal in the trap. It simply places the trap in a place where the animal is expected to travel. See Positive Trapping.
A device that captures an animal by imprisoning it. But unlike a cage trap, a box trap has solid walls.
A device that captures an animal by imprisoning it. But unlike a box trap, a cage trap has wire-mesh walls (see photo of trapped raccoon).
Conibear or Conibear-style trap
Conibear is a trade name for a two-bar trap that swivels and ideally, strikes the animal on the back and chest simultaneously in order to kill the animal (see image to the right).
Cruelty is the malicious and excessive infliction of pain and suffering upon an animal beyond what is necessary. Unfortunately, animal protectionists have been attempting to change the definition to include killing of an animal whether it suffered or not. One may dispute whether the killing of an animal is justified, but to suggest that the mere killing of an animal even if done with minimal to no pain is an expression of cruelty blurs the definition beyond reason. Throwing a raccoon in the fire and shooting it in the head are ways to kill an animal. One is cruel the other isn’t.
Certified Wildlife Control Professional. A certification granted by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. CWCPs must have 3 years of full time experience and have 100 hours of training.
A trap similar in form to a snare but is designed to capture the animal alive. See Snare.
Wild. Usually used to refer to an animal that is normally owned (i.e. domesticated) but is now running free like wildlife. See Free-range
Free-range refers to domesticated animals (like dogs and cats) that are allowed to roam free around the countryside. They can kill and harm lots of wildlife, but unlike feral animals, free-range animals are owned and will return home to be cared for by their owners.
A highly controversial and debated term whose definition is determined by the ideology of the person or group defining the term. In its loosest definition, humane refers to employing activities that bring the least amount of harm and suffering to the animal(s) being handled. to humanely kill an animal the creature must be unconscious while death occurs. Under a stricter definition, humane means bringing no harm at all to the animal and death is used only as an absolute last resort and then under strict guidelines to ensure a painless death as much as is humanly possible.
It is a common error to apply this term to only cage and box traps. Live trap is any trap that captures the animal alive. Traps that fit into this category include, cage traps, box traps, cable-restraints, footholds, traps that restrain limbs, and pit traps.
Pronounced (New koh). Acronym for Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. A synonym for WCO. See WCO and WMP.
Pronounced (New Koh Ah). An acronym for the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. NWCOA is the trade association for professionals in the wildlife damage management industry.
Acronym for Problem Animal Controller. Title used in Massachusetts.
An acronym for Pest Control Operator. PCOs are primarily spray for insects (invertebrate animals) but they also handle pigeons, starlings, house sparrows, mice, and rats. Typically use pesticides and toxicants to control the species they are hired to remove. Lately, more PCOs are entering the wildlife control field.
According to the EPA, a pesticide is any substance or mixture that (with certain minor exceptions) is: intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest; intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant; or any nitrogen stabilizer.
A technique where the trap is set over the entrance of the animal’s den so that the animal is forced to enter the trap. See Blind Set.
A human moving an animal from one spot to another within the animal’s home range. E.g. Moving a squirrel from your basement and relocating it to your backyard. Often confused with translocation. See Translocation.
A looped cable (typically aircraft cable) designed to capture the animal around the neck and constrict to kill it. Commonly confused with cable-restraints. See cable-restraint
When a human moves an animal from its home-range to an area it is not familiar with which is outside the animal’s home range. Term often confused with relocation. See relocation.
An acronym for Wildlife Control Operator. WCOs are individuals who run or work for private wildlife control companies servicing clients in need of removal of problem wildlife. Some professionals prefer to be called WCOs because they believe wildlife should be considered a resource not a nuisance. A synonym for NWCO.
An acronym for Wildlife Management Professional. May refer to a private wildlife control operator running a business but can also refer to state or local agency personnel.