Urban Wildlife: Who are you gonna call?

Above: American Black Bear in Fawnskin, California

There seems to be some confusion as to who has jurisdiction over animals in an urban setting near wildlife habitat. The recent wildfires have shrunk local habitat and so animals are turning up in record numbers in the local area–and someone left a message about the bear over in the TwentyNine Palms area.

As this article states, the heat is unbearable and up here we are seeing animals seeking water in areas they would most likely avoid and during abnormal times.

In most cases you need to start with a phone call to Animal Control. Sometimes they get the moniker of Animal Services. They have the local numbers they need to call for assistance if they cannot handle the situation.

In our area we have the Fish & Game Warden for crimes against wildlife or violations of law concerning wildlife.

In addition, we have Forestry biologists who monitor the animals and a Fish & Game Biologist that handles nuisance animals.

It can get a little confusing especially since we also have the Bureau of Land Management–who handles animals in the areas under their jurisdiction.

If the animal is an escaped critter from a captive facility–well then add the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to the mix.

Are you shaking your head yet? Try figuring it out if you live in an area with ALL of these agencies–like I do.

Wild animals in general should be left alone. If the critters are becoming urban dwellers–or urban exploiters–it is time to get some professional help.

Start with Animal Control and they will handle the rest and call in the agency needed.

Please remember that rescue groups, humane societies, and small wildlife rehabilitation centers do not have jurisdiction (in most cases) and most will not have the skill set or equipment for dealing with large predators.

If you call the police or sheriff, in most case they will shoot the animal in question if they feel it is a public safety threat.

For the bear’s sake, keep your distance and avoid any interactions. While you are at it, pull up any outdoor food and water sources for birds, other wildlife, and those for your pets.

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