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WDFW Strategic Initiative – Living with Wildlife

Category: Agency Plans and Reports

Date Published:  2009

Number of Pages: 4

Contact Information: Steve Pozzanghera, Deputy Assistant Director, WDFW Wildlife Program, 360-902-2506


As Washington’s human population rises and development continues to encroach further into wildlife habitat, people and animals are increasingly coming into conflict. These human-wildlife conflicts involve encounters with raccoons, coyotes and numerous other animals, as well as potentially dangerous species, such as bears, cougars and moose.

In the past two years, nearly 30 percent of Washington residents have experienced a problem with wildlife, according to a 2008 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) survey. These conflicts range from black bears that have been fed by humans to cougar attacks on pets and livestock.

Currently, WDFW’s Enforcement Program is responsible for responding to wildlife conflicts. While this approach is appropriate when human health and safety is threatened, the majority of interactions do not pose a safety risk to people. To effectively address these non-safety issues, the department needs to adjust its response to humanwildlife conflicts.

The current reactive, short-term response, often involves lethal removal of the problem animal and financial compensation for property damage. By shifting to a proactive approach, WDFW’s enforcement officers can focus their efforts on other department priorities and better serve the public.