Experts converge in March to discuss human-wildlife conflict resolution
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.”
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.