North Carolina's Wildlife Damage Control Agent System

In 1995, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) established policy and rules for handling of nuisance wildlife by Wildlife Damage Control Agents (WDCA). The policy required a 1 -day long training session, culminating in an open book, certification examination. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES) conducted the training and administered the examination. The certification-training program covered principles of wildlife damage management, wildlife laws and regulations, humane handling of animals and euthanasia, human health risks from exposure to wildlife, professional ethics, and sources of technical information. Between October 1995 and March 1999, 6 certification-training sessions were held and 240 WDCAs were certified, with agents in 56 of 100 counties. The Wildlife Division of NCWRC administered the program. WDCAs are entitled to issue Wildlife Depredation Permits to North Carolina residents suffering damage from native wildlife that are not specially protected by federal or state laws. The depredation permit provides for the listing of the issuing WDCA as a second party to the permit. While there is no charge for the permit, the WDCA can charge for removal of the animals and repair of structures. WDCAs must be re-certified every 3 years. We evaluated the WDCA program by surveying the first group of 47 agents, certified in 1995, when they completed their examinations for recertification in 1998. Additionally, we surveyed wildlife enforcement officers, district wildlife biologists and their supervisors, and cooperative extension agents to gain their views of the WDCA program. No major problems were reported with program administration or training. The cooperative relationships among leading and supporting agencies were excellent. Increased effort at WDCA publicity, both locally and statewide are recommended.

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