Human-Wildlife Conflict

Human-Wildlife Conflict

Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) refers to any negative interaction that may arise between people and wildlife. As natural environments diminish and the human population increases, the potential for HWCs grows. The Wildlife Society believes that understanding the implications of HWCs is a critical step in creating a healthier environment for humans and wildlife.

North American Wolves

Wolves once roamed throughout most of North America. Due primarily to conflicts with humans, however, both the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and red wolf (Canus rufus) were eradicated throughout much of their historic ranges. Although protected in the lower 48 states, wolf conservation and management continues to be a contentious topic because of the possibility of conflicts with people.

Fact Sheets:

Non-native Species

The Wildlife Society identifies non-native (exotic) species as any species found outside its traditional range due to human behavior. The introduction of non-native species can result in serious detrimental effects to native ecosystems (e.g., species extinctions) and is considered one of the four major threats to biodiversity. Below are several non-native species whose introductions have been identified as a threat to native ecosystems and for which swift management is necessary.

Feral and Free-ranging Domestic Cats

Domestic cats (Felis catus) have no native range and are considered an exotic species throughout the world. This species poses a threat to native ecosystems as a reservoir for disease, competitor with other predators, and because of its habit of killing even when not hungry. TWS strongly opposes the existence of feral cat colonies and urges owners to keep their pets indoors or on a leash.

Fact Sheets:

  • Position Statement Feral and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats                                     
  • Template Letter                                                                                                                           
  • Testimony to DC City Council                                                                                                     
  • American Bird Conservancy: Cats Indoors                                              
  • Keep Animals Safe
  • Facts about Feral Cats                                                                                                               
  • Toxoplasmosis                                                                                                                                    
  • Trap-Neuter-Release                                                                                                     
  • Rabies                                                                                                                                         
  • Ecological Impacts
Feral Horses
Although many now-extinct horses evolved in North America, feral horses (Equus caballus) today are the descendants of horses introduced to the Americas in the 1500s by Spanish conquistadores. These horses are non-native and deteriorate native ecosystems by trampling vegetation, hard-packing soils, and over-grazing. With no natural predators, horse populations continue to increase and current management options cost taxpayers millions annually.
Fact Sheets:

Other HWC Resources

The Wildlife Society | 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 200 | Bethesda MD 20814-2144| Phone: (301) 897-9770 | Fax: (301) 530-2471