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Conservation is the preservation and protection of indigenous plants and animals and their habitats.  With the human population continuing to grow, our daily activities increasingly encroach on our native wildlife. It is important to recognize how species are affected by human influences.  With some helpful tips, information and easy changes in behavior, we can create positive experiences with local wildlife and ensure that future generations may enjoy our natural world and all of its wonders.


We can coexist.

Keep Wild Animals Wild

One way you can help reduce wildlife conflicts with people is by not feeding wildlife.  Wildlife Services experts are often asked to assist with wildlife damage problems related to animals that have been accidentally or intentionally fed by people. Feeding wildlife can lead to serious problems including:

  • Human food is not healthy for wild animals, and they do not need food from humans to survive. Wild animals have specialized diets, and they can become malnourished or die if fed the wrong foods. Also, animals cannot distinguish food from wrappers or foil and suffer ill effects if they ingest these items.

  • Feeding leads to public health concerns. Too many animals in one place increases the chance of disease transmission to people, pets and other wildlife.

  • Leaving food for one type of wildlife (birdseed for example) may inadvertently attract others that may be considered nuisance (rodents). 

  • Attracting wildlife also encourages their predators which may be undesirable (snakes). 

  • Animals accustomed to people often lose their fear of people and can become aggressive. Those that become too aggressive may have to be destroyed to protect people and property. 

  • Birds gathering near or on airports can become victims of bird-aircraft collisions, potentially causing flight delays, damage to aircraft, and loss of human life. 

  • Animals fed along roads tend to stay near roads, increasing the chance of vehicle-animal accidents.

  • Large concentrations of ducks and geese can pollute nearby waterways, backyards and athletic fields. Some waterfowl species drop up to a pound of feces every day!

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Tips to Coexist

Many people enjoy living near and watching wildlife. You can help keep animals wild by keeping the following tips in mind. 

  • Do not encourage wildlife by feeding or leaving food for them.

  • Don't place food scraps in gardens or open compost bins. Use a closed compost bin. 

  • Keep pet food and water containers indoors, especially at night.

  • If you have fruit trees, harvest, or dispose of fruit when it is ripe. 

  • Use metal or durable plastic trash containers with tight fitting lids. 

  • Dispose of your trash responsibly.  Crush cans, cut plastic bottle and can rings and cap jars so wildlife do not become entrapped, entangled, or injured. 

  • Recycle as much as possible. 

  • Enjoy viewing wildlife at a distance with binoculars, a telescope, or a zoom camera lens. Respect their space and remember they are wild animals that should stay wild.

Enhance Natural Habitat

There are many ways to attract wild animals without creating a dependence or conflict with humans.  Here are some ways to help wildlife by enhancing the natural habitat in public and private spaces.


Plant and grow native trees, hedges, grasses, and flowers.  Human development has resulted in large scale clearing and deforestation of native species which serve as food, shelter, and travel corridors for wildlife.  Replanting natives  species increases habitat size and promotes wider distribution of wildlife populations.  Natives are also more disease resistant, require less irrigation and fertilization.  Below are some resources to help.


Install bird nesting boxes.  The removal of damaged or dead trees has eliminated spaces for cavity-nesting wildlife species.  Also, non-native, or exotic trees may not offer the same physical structures and materials that are appropriate for nesting.  Placement of a few, properly designed bird boxes  can help promote successful nesting. Refer to the below link for details on proper design and installation of bird houses.


Install a bird bath or water feature.  Human development through grading, paving and piping of waterways has eliminated clean natural water sources for wild animals.  A bird bath can provide a valuable water source for drinking and washing. Make sure to maintain, clean and disinfect water features regularly to prevent spread of disease and mosquitos.

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