1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 Suggested Protocol for the welfare and management of wild animals affected by land-clearing and habitat modification:
This Suggested Protocol provides guidelines to ensure that fair, reasonable and appropriate measures are available to those involved in the destruction or modification of wildlife habitats; the overall purpose being to minimize the adverse effects on wild animal welfare and conservation. The principles set out in this protocol are for the guidance of land and real estate developers, municipal planners, plant and machinery operators, lumber companies, farmers, and any other person, entity or agency involved in activities which are likely to cause the uneccessary suffering, displacement or death of wild animals, either directly or indirectly, as a result of destruction, modification or disruption of wildlife habitats. The suggested protocol will help in reducing conflicts between people and wildlife, including but not limited to animal/vehicle accidents, destruction and damage to homes/structures and property, drop damage, aircraft strikes, etc.
The protocol emphasizes the responsibilities of all relevant parties to:
• take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent cruelty and/or suffering to animals
• minimize the loss of wildlife caused directly or indirectly by development or landclearing
• conserve, as much as possible, the ecological values of development sites and their surrounding natural environment.
The protocol also provides operating procedures and guidelines for wildlife control operators, on whom much of the responsibility rests to ensure application of this protocol, in respect of projects for which they are contracted or employed.
Although the greater community is largely unaware of the impacts of development on wildlife, there exists, nevertheless, an expectation that animals, whether domestic or wild, should not be treated cruelly. This protocol reflects that general societal view by providing guidelines and mechanisms to minimize cruelty to, or suffering of, wild animals as a result of development processes.
1.2 Wildlife loss associated with land-clearing
Loss of habitat and large scale habitat modification represents the most significant threat to wildlife in the United States. Substantial numbers of native mammals, birds and reptiles die yearly as a result of broad-scale clearing of land. Land-clearing may also isolate populations or individuals in pockets of habitat, leaving them susceptible to accident, urbanization, natural disasters, overpopulation, genetic degradation through inbreeding, and a range of other deleterious effects.