Wildlife Management


More Information

What are urban wildlife?

An urban environment exerts novel  selective pressures on wildlife species due to habitat modification, natural habitat loss, and surrounding human population.

Some species are able to thrive in this modified landscape. These animals are called “urban wildlife”. Urban wildlife have many adaptive traits in common: a diverse diet, highly opportunistic, ability to exploit human modified habitats, reduced fear of humans, loss of natural predators or competition, and increased food sources.


What are some of the most common wildlife living in Fairfax County?


Why manage wildlife in Fairfax County?

A carrying capacity does exist and determines the maximum number of animals a habitat or geographic area can support without damage to the environment.

It is the responsibility of wildlife managers, natural resource managers and environmental stewards, to preserve wildlife and to protect remnant natural habitats in all ways possible.

It is a chosen responsibility to address Human Health & Public Safety issues, mitigate wildlife conflicts, and protect property from actual and potential damage.


What is successful wildlife management?

Effective wildlife management resolves wildlife conflicts with the most comprehensive management techniques available to include the following methods, when possible:

  • Humane exclusion & Repellency
  • Population control
  • Habitat modification
  • Conservation & Research

A comprehensive approach to managing a wildlife conflict must strictly adhere to all federal and state laws, regulations and county ordinances.

Basic knowledge of the species ecology and behavior is necessary for successful wildlife management. A general understanding of what, why, and how resources are being used by wildlife is critical. Unless the resource attracting the wildlife has been identified (e.g. food or water source, den site or burrow) and modified or removed, the wildlife conflict will not be resolved.

Exploring humane long-term exclusion and repellency options should be the first step towards resolving most wildlife conflicts on private property:

Lethal control methods should generally be considered a last resort for effective, long-term wildlife management.Lethal methods are appropriate as a first step or primary approach if there is risk to public safety or human health; significant or irreversible environmental damage; significant economic impact and/or permanent damage to property. All lethal methods should be carefully researched to determine what the most appropriate method is depending on species and wildlife conflict:

For more information about native wildlife and wildlife management please contact the Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist, Dr. Katherine Edwards at (703)-324-0224.


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