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Experts converge in March to discuss human-wildlife conflict resolution

Some coyotes have adapted to urban environments, creating a need for outreach and managing coyote-human conflicts.
Wildlife and people have been in the news lately. Perhaps you've heard of coyotes wandering in urban neighborhoods. You might have also read why you shouldn't feed wildlife. Did you know they are connected? It's a problem when people feed coyotes either intentionally or unintentionally by leaving garbage uncovered or pet food outdoors. Readily available food may encourage coyotes to lose their natural fear of humans. These interactions will be discussed during a symposium on urban coyotes at the 27th Vertebrate Pest Conference, March 7-10 in Newport Beach.

The Vertebrate Pest Conference is held every two years, usually in California, in cooperation with the Pesticide Applicators Professional Association (PAPA). The leading authorities with vertebrate management expertise from around the world congregate to present the latest research and extension information.

The conference is intended for animal control officials, wildlife managers, agricultural producers, pest control advisers, consultants, educators, researchers and natural resource managers. California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Department of Public Health continuing education units are available for participants. Special symposia at the conference include bird, wild pig, and urban coyote management.

At the Vertebrate Pest Conference, experts will share the latest information about coyote attacks, human-coyote conflicts, and present several talks on coyote management, including hazing.

Niamh Quinn, a UC Cooperative Extension vertebrate pest advisor based at the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center in Orange County, is one speaker on the growing problem of urban coyotes. With over 3 million people in Orange County, 8 state parks and beaches, countless city parks and 19 county parks and wilderness areas, conflicts with urban coyotes are bound to happen. Managing coyotes includes managing people's behavior too.

“We can't manage what we can't measure. This conference provides a unique opportunity to discuss ongoing conflicts, especially those related to urban coyote management," Quinn said. "Research is needed to understand urban coyote behavior and if these behaviors are changing as a result of the way we are currently living. Outreach is needed to instruct urbanites on appropriate behavior where coyote conflicts are occurring, and managing coyotes is everyone's concern. We need better and improved strategies for measuring and managing these conflicts.”

Bird damage to ripe Rainier cherries.
Vertebrates are also problematic in commercial agriculture. A 2011 survey of wildlife damage by UC Cooperative Extension specialist on human-wildlife conflict resolution, Roger Baldwin, said agricultural losses from wildlife damage in California is likely in excess of $1 billion annually. Based on the survey results, economic losses were greatest for voles and pocket gophers in alfalfa; and wild pigs, birds, and ground squirrels in nut crops.

One talk at the Vertebrate Pest Conference will be a North American overview of bird damage in fruit crops. Other presentations cover field rodent repellents, food safety, and trapping.

UC IPM has information on vertebrate pest management for urban and communities, as well as commercial agriculture.

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:41 AM
Tags: Niamh Quinn (15), Roger Baldwin (6), UC IPM (58)

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