Extension's Role The educational outreach element of the Wildlife Damage Management Program has several key components:
- informing Extension field staff, agency professionals, homeowners, and farmers about the latest research developments from Cornell and other research institutes;
- educating Extension field staff and others in the appropriate application of new wildlife damage management technology, and ways to integrate those techniques into the entire farm operation;
- facilitating communication and networking among Cornell researchers, Cornell Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, agency professionals, and farmers in New York;
- communicating industry needs to decision- makers and non-farm publics who are interested in wildlife;
- working with Extension Staff and others in the appropriate application of new wildlife damage management techniques around the home;
- working to facilitate citizen participation in decision-making regarding wildlife damage management issues.
Cornell Cooperative Extension field staff extend the program to benefit New York State residents and agricultural industries affected by wildlife damage. CCE staff are supported by inservice training, fact sheets, a wildlife listserve, videotapes, and other materials that assist them in delivering educational programs identified as being necessary for their local situations.
An important aspect of an integrated and comprehensive Wildlife Damage Management Program is the coordination of activities of farmer organizations, agencies, and institutions interested in wildlife damage problems. Extension facilitates communication and networking among these groups.
The program participants recognize that wildlife damage management takes place in a context involving more than farmers, agency personnel, and Cornell staff. Other publics have shown increasing interest in wildlife and human interactions. Increasingly communities are seeking solutions to wildlife damage problems, particularly those involving Canada geese and deer. In order to make sound decisions, citizens must first understand what viable site-specific and population management options exist. Cornell Cooperative Extension is particularly well suited to engage in such education, which is an essential element of a comprehensive Wildlife Damage Management Program in today's socio-political environment.
Research Base A comprehensive research approach that combines biological and human dimensions investigations forms the foundation of the wildlife damage management program. This integrated approach is essential for identifying critical wildlife damage problems and developing cost-effective controls and management options.
Biological Research Currently, the research focus of the Cooperative is deer damage management. Experimental deer repellents are being evaluated in comparison with existing commercially available products. Another research project involves studying the effects of deer management on forest regeneration. Immuno-contraceptives are also being studied for their potential use in controlling deer populations in urban/suburban areas. In addition, a new orally-delivered drug for controlling fertility will be tested on Canada geese in the upcoming years. Other research projects include testing squirrel-repellent bird seed, studying methods for reducing beaver damage along roadsides, and researching deer movement patterns in suburban areas.
Human Dimensions Research To complement the biological studies, human dimensions research is underway. Evaluation of methods for diverse groups of stakeholders to have meaningful input into wildlife management decisions in both rural and suburban environments is a primary focus. Recent research has focused particularly on the use of citizen task forces and community-based wildlife management. In addition, the human dimensions research is examining the policy context for wildlife damage management, particularly situations where wildlife population (e.g., white-tailed deer) reduction is a probable alternative. Part of this research involves understanding the dynamics of white-tailed deer hunting, the number of deer which hunters are willing to harvest in various regions of New York, and comparing these numbers with harvest requirements to stabilize or where necessary, reduce the deer population.
Affiliates and Collaborators