Black bears, deer, foxes, raccoons, geese, vultures and coyotes continue to be a problem for Virginia’s farmers. They often eat crops and create ruts in fields, or prey on livestock, killing sheep, calves, goats and chickens.
Anyone experiencing an issue with wildlife has a resource at their fingertips—the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline.
“We knew wildlife issues were increasing because the human populations were increasing,” said Jennifer Cromwell, assistant state director for USDA Wildlife Services Program. She spoke at a recent Wildlife Interactions Workshop at Virginia State University.
“We wanted to see how we could help,” she explained. “A lot of times callers got passed around, and there was inconsistent messaging. So we consolidated, and this helps save time.”
The hotline is a joint effort of USDA Wildlife Services and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Established in 2013, it has received more than 57,000 calls. In fiscal year 2014 a total of 8,485 calls were answered, and in fiscal year 2018 there were 14,950 calls.
“More people are aware of the hotline now, and the populations of species also are…