Wildlife Complaints and Their Resolutions in Maryland

Wildlife complaints received by the Maryland Forest, Park and Wildlife Service from a 5-county study area of Maryland were evaluated to improve Maryland's wildlife complaint program. Data collected included type of wildlife causing complaint, type of damage or problem, method used to resolve complaint, and response of complainant to resolution of problem. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) caused the most complaints (24.9%) and 5 of the total 16 wildlife groups caused 68.4% of the complaints. Fifty-seven percent of the complaints involved houses, yards, gardens, or crops. Explaining the habits of the offending wildlife and recommending techniques that the complainant could do himself to resolve the problem was the most common technique (73.6%) used in responding to wildlife complaints. A majority of the complainants (81.4%) were satisfied with the suggestions offered. A lead agency is recommended to direct the wildlife complaint program for the state. This lead agency should establish a standard wildlife complaint policy, a training program for all wildlife complaint personnel, a 1-800 (toll-free) or 1-900 (small fee to calling party) wildlife complaint “hotline” number, and a wildlife complaint educational program for cooperating agencies and the general public.

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