Reidinger Jr., R. F., & Miller, J., E. (2013). Wildlife Damage Management: Prevention, Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Wildlife Damage Management (WDM) is a complex field of study that involves biology, ecology, medical science, economics, a myriad of control methods, the law, and issues related with human values and beliefs. The task of putting the diversity of topics into one manual is a difficult one. Fortunately, however, Reidinger and Miller have not only accomplished this difficult goal, they have done it well.
The text is smartly divided into six sections: introduction, theory, disease, control methods, human dimensions, and strategies and the future. Each section in turn contains chapters related to different aspects of the section. Thus the book is analogous to a diamond. Each chapter is a different facet that when combined with other chapters and sections becomes a complete stone.
The authors clearly designed the book for use in the college classroom. Every chapter begins with a brief summary followed by a review of the major points that will be covered. Technical terms are identified with bold print and are defined in the extensive glossary in the back of the book. Each chapter ends with a bulleted summary of the major concepts covered in the chapter followed by a series of questions to encourage readers to think more deeply about the subject matter.
Readers familiar with the field of wildlife damage management should consider the following points. 1. The authors did not adopt the traditional scope of wildlife damage management as consisting of non-domesticated vertebrate animals. Instead, they defined wildlife damage management as encompassing any non-domestic plant or animal, including invertebrate animals such as insects and protozoans. 2. Readers should understand that the authors are academics and have relied heavily on peer-reviewed and peer-edited literature. Techniques and equipment developed in the professional (non-academic) wildlife control community are often missing in the book. 3. The authors tend to consider ecological and policy issues more frequently than is typical of wildlife damage management books. Readers will quickly realize that wildlife damage management decisions, when considered from a large-scale habitat perspective, are decidedly complex. In regard to this latter point, the authors are to be commended for the extent in which they have integrated scientific/environmental issues with policy decisions. And 4. The synthetic and technical approach of the authors does, in several places, make for some challenging reading, especially for those lacking academic training. However, non-academically trained readers should know that these difficult sections are brief and can be quickly skipped without much loss.
If you want a bird’s eye view of a complex subject from an academically rigorous point of view, then this book is for you. Teachers of wildlife damage management especially should consider using this text for their classes.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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