Maintaining a balance between human and wildlife needs requires sensitivity. In addressing the conflicts between wildlife and people, wildlife managers must thoughtfully consider not only the needs of those directly affected by wildlife damage but also a range of environmental, sociocultural, and economic factors.
Wildlife is a valuable public resource. Federal and State Governments are responsible for maintaining healthy, stable wildlife populations. Accordingly, when wildlife causes damage, government has an obligation to control that damage. Wildlife damage-control responsibilities and authorities fall to different agencies depending on the species, type of problem, and location. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service has primary responsibility for managing migratory birds and federally listed threatened and endangered species. State wildlife management agencies have primary authority for the management of nonmigratory birds and all other species of wildlife not federally listed as threatened or endangered. Legislation mandates that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide assistance upon request of State Governments, private individuals, and other Federal agencies to control and prevent damage and disease caused or carried by wildlife. Cooperative agreements provide for the management of various species, including management for the purpose of controlling damage caused by wildlife.