Why it matters: Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructure, private property, and agriculture. For example, the damage to livestock, aquaculture, and other agricultural products has been estimated to reach nearly $1 billion annually. As such, WS works to prevent, minimize, and manage the damage on crops, livestock, aquaculture, and other efforts to protect human health and safety.
Given increasing human-wildlife conflicts, supporting USDA’s Wildlife Services is critical to maintaining a balance of safe and healthy wildlife in the areas that humans live, work, and recreate. In FY20 alone, WS conducted nearly 80,000 technical assistance projects to reduce wildlife damage to property in urban, suburban, and rural locations across the country, which include homes, schools, industrial facilities, roads, bridges, airports and airport runways, dams, and electrical and water systems.
In addition to addressing human-conflict, Wildlife Services also helps conserve game species such as mule deer, bighorn sheep, antelope, and waterfowl species through predator and invasive species control. Additionally, WS also helps conserve non-game species as part of the broad mission. For example, WS has helped conserve 269 threatened and endangered species in 46 states.
CSF continues to strongly support the USDA Wildlife Services and the necessary appropriations to ensure the continuation of this important program to manage human-wildlife conflicts.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?