Recently the ZAHP Fusion Center, along with AZA and American Association of Zoo Veterinarians recently had a discussion with USDA Wildlife Services, Animal Care and Veterinary Services to discuss wildlife mitigation strategies. Epidemiologists and scientists are still determining how the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is spreading so rapidly in poultry farms in the upper Midwest. One thing is certain: Dabbling ducks (mallards, etc.) are reservoirs for the virus. In many instances, we cannot make our exhibits, especially ponds, ‘wildlife proof’.
USDA Wildlife Services (WS) has shared with us some strategies, which may help to make our facilities less attractive to wildlife. You are encouraged to contact your State Department of Natural Resources (or equivalent) and State USDA Wildlife Services program for specific assistance. Their toll-free number is (866) 4USDA-WS (866-487-3297), or you can link into your State’s WS program through the APHIS website.
The USDA understands the issues facing zoos and aquariums in trying to protect their collections, while respecting wildlife. It is likely that we may develop a webinar on this topic in the future, but in the interim we encourage you to look over the included documents outlining some non-lethal methods of addressing free-ranging wildlife.
Prevent Avian Influenza at Your Farm: Improve Your Biosecurity with Simple Wildlife Management Practices – USDA, APHIS
Canada Geese: Living with our Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities – The Humane Society of the United States
Nonlethal Management of Wildlife Damage Fact Sheet – USDA, Wildlife Services
Goose Control Techniques – City of West Chester, Ohio
Use of Overhead Wires to Deter Waterfowl from Sewage Treatment Ponds – USDA, Wildlife Services
Excluding Non-migratory Canada Geese with Overhead Wire Grids – USDA, APHIS
Comparison of 2 Vegetation-height Management Practices for Wildlife Control at Airports – USDA, Wildlife Services