Texans Wrangle With Wildlife In Sprawling Suburbs

<p>Increasing conflicts between suburbanites and wild critters battling for habitat prompts urban biologists to find solutions for coyotes, racoons, and feral pigs.</p>
February 20, 2007, 10am PST | andreabroaddus
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"Destructive feral pigs, coyotes losing their fear of humans, and deer overpopulation rank as the chief "flashpoints" in conflicts between man and nature in Texas' ever-expanding cityscapes, say organizers of the state's first comprehensive urban wildlife conference."

"John Davis, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department urban wildlife biologist, said human-animal entanglements are on the rise statewide, fueled by suburban sprawl and creatures steadily adapting to man."

"Davis said researchers have found it important to identify and locate problem animals such as coyotes that have become dangerously comfortable around humans."

"Experts recommend a completely different solution for the more common problem of pesky raccoons that den in or under houses, Davis said. "We've found that excluding them by sealing off the opening and letting them remain in the area works best," he said."

"Over the last several years, feral pigs have begun invading urban settings, including the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, a 3,600-acre park on the city's northwestern edge."

"He said that once people understood that the 300-pound pigs are a non-native, habitat-destroying species that endangers ground-nesting birds and small mammals, they understood the pigs needed to be eliminated."

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Published on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 in The Houston Chronicle
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