TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Critter Control has completed and published on its Web site a suggested protocol for responsible land clearing and wildlife habitat modification. The protocol establishes guidelines to ensure that appropriate measures are available to those involved in the destruction or modification of wildlife habitats; the overall purpose being to minimize the adverse effects on wild animal welfare and conservation.
Substantial numbers of native mammals, birds and reptiles die yearly as the result of broad-scale land clearing. Conflicts between people and animals are on the rise as wildlife habitat is reduced. Critter Control CEO Kevin Clark recently pointed out that, “People want and deserve to be assured that wild animals are humanely handled and we see public awareness regarding this issue at an all time high. Even Hollywood is doing their part in heightening awareness with Over the Hedge and Furry Vengeance, movies depicting suburban sprawl at the expense of the environment.”
Clark believes the removal of wildlife from development sites prior to and during vegetation clearing represents the best mechanism for reducing wildlife injury and mortality associated with land clearing, and will in turn reduce human-wildlife conflicts in surrounding areas. These principles should be rigorously applied to all development proposals early in the planning process to minimize the requirement for expensive (and less desirable) wildlife and habitat management alternatives.
The protocol emphasizes the responsibilities of all relevant parties to: take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent suffering to animals; minimize the loss of wildlife caused directly or indirectly by development or land-clearing; and to conserve as much as possible the ecological values of development sites and their surrounding natural environment. The protocol also provides operating procedures and guidelines for biologists and wildlife control operators, on whom much of the responsibility would rest to ensure application of the protocol.
The entire ‘Suggested Protocol for the Responsible Management of Wildlife Affected by Land Clearing and the Modification of Wildlife Habitats’ manual can be viewed here.