Human-wildlife Interaction

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources developed the Urban Wildlife Program in 2019. The goals of this program are to mitigate wildlife conflict (e.g., on-site response or technical assistance), educate the public, and prevent conflicts ( e.g., provide proactive management plans). Because of the nature of their work, they have been able to collect intense human-wildlife interaction data, including location, species involved, and type of interaction. We will be using this data to understand how these conflicts spatially present themselves on the landscape and what landscape characteristics can be used to predict high risk conflict areas. Our goal is to then use our coyote spatial and mammal distribution data to create targeted outreach material for residents in these high risk areas.

Photo credit: Zoe Rossman

Photo credit: Alex Coombs

Preliminary Data

Do wildlife removals lower human-wildlife conflicts?

Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCO) are responsible for removing animals that are causing human-wildlife conflicts, but is it working? This study conducted by Daniel DeRose-Broeckert, a University of Georgia student, aims to estimate the effectiveness of removing (euthanizing) mesocarnivores as a tool for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts in 10 metro Atlanta counties.

We recorded NWCO removal summaries and conflicts reported to DNR from the years 2019-2021. NWCOs removed 268 animals from metro Atlanta during this time (Figure 1). DNR conflict reports totaled 1,086 calls during the same time period (Figure 2). This data will be used to identifying areas of increased conflict reports (Figures 3), as well as, high risk species (Figure 4).

Of all NWCO’s removals, 74% were from just 3 counties (Fulton, Dekalb, and Forsyth), while 85% of conflict reports originated from 4 counties (Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Dekalb). Our data show coyotes, foxes, and raccoons receive the most reports, while coyotes, raccoons and opossums are the most commonly removed species.

Check out some of our Previous Research