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TPWD News Release — Feb. 5, 2007

Urban Wildlife Conference To Address Nuisance Issues

DALLAS, Texas — Deer in the driveway? Coyotes on the concrete? While many suburbanites love wildlife and a country setting, and wildlife experts tout the value of native habitat and open space, conflicts between people and wild animals are on the rise statewide. A conference here Feb. 20 will gather experts to explore solutions.

“Managing Urban Wildlife: Planning for Success” is the first Texas gathering of its kind, bringing together not only wildlife biologists, but also city animal control workers and local park and nature center operators. The event will take place 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Texas Cooperative Extension Research Center, 17360 Coit Road in Dallas.

“As Texas cities expand, housing subdivisions are replacing green open space,” said John Davis, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department urban wildlife biologist for the Dallas-Fort Worth region. “Urban wildlife issues pose both problems and opportunities. Concerns like nuisance coyotes and overpopulated deer can become flashpoints for divided communities, but properly managed wildlife and green space are vital to our quality of life. This conference will show how deliberate, proactive planning can maximize the benefits of living with urban wildlife while minimizing conflicts.”

The conference is geared particularly for elected officials, municipal staff, animal control personnel, regional planners, park and nature center staff, and local wildlife rehabilitators — but organizers say the topics offered will benefit anyone working with or interested in urban wildlife populations.

Throughout the day, experts will discuss successfully navigating news coverage of wildlife issues, managing urban coyotes, deer and feral hogs, peacefully living with raccoons, opossums, skunks, and bats, and avoiding potential wildlife diseases. The conference will close with a look to proactive, regional planning, the real key to urban wildlife success, and will end with a panel of experts addressing audience questions.

Participants include TPWD, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, North Texas Master Naturalists, Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, City of Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth Wildlife Coalition.

Rob Denkhaus of the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge will speak about controlling feral hogs in a Fort Worth park setting, an example of successfully managing a dangerous species while addressing stakeholder concerns and proactively involving the media.

Dorinda Pulliam, head of City of Austin animal control programs, will talk about Austin’s effort to monitor, report and control nuisance coyotes, a model that experts would like to see shared with other cities.

Diana Foss of TPWD will speak about Houston’s popular bat viewing projects, involving volunteers and the news media to create effective public education and ecotourism.

Prudi Koeninger of the DFW Wildlife Coalition will promote ways of living peacefully with common suburban wildlife.

The conference costs $25 per person. Seating is limited so pre-registration is required by Feb. 15. Attendees certified with the Texas Animal Control Association (TACA) will get 5.5 hours of CEU credit for attending.

For more information, or to receive a registration form, contact Fred Burrell with Texas Cooperative Extension at (214) 904-3056 or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department urban wildlife office in Cedar Hill at (972) 293-3841.