WILDLIFE CONTROL AND RELOCATION SPECIALIST
I have loved animals since I was a kid, and at a very young age I knew that whatever I did in life it would involve animals. I am now twenty-six and work as a wildlife control specialist in Denver, Colorado. Before I got this job I volunteered at a local wildlife rehabilitation center to gain experience handling exotic animals. I soon discovered that I had a great passion for helping rehabilitate injured wildlife and releasing them back into the wild. It was a wonderful feeling. I worked in rehabilitation for almost two years. I dealt with a wide variety of animals—raccoons, squirrels, foxes, beavers, rabbits, and some domesticated animals like pigs and ducks. Springtime was always very busy, with many baby animals being abandoned by mothers who had been injured and could no longer care for them. Our time was spent primarily bottle feeding baby raccoons and squirrels. It was always rewarding to watch them grow up healthy and strong, though it was also important to make sure they did not get attached to humans. Otherwise they would not be able to survive out in the wild on their own.
I eventually realized that I wanted to start a career in wildlife control and relocation. I soon found a company that was hiring and I decided to go for it. The company responds to homeowners and businesses that have problems with wildlife. (We don't deal with domestic animals like dogs or cats.) Whether it's squirrels in the attic or skunks living under a porch, we can help. I love my job and look forward to it every day. There is no typical day in this sort of work—you just never know what to expect.
One of my first jobs was to help a woman that had a raccoon living under her back porch. It would come out from under the porch and destroy her yard and garden at night. I jumped in my truck and headed over to her house to take a look around and set up traps. The traps we use are very humane and do not hurt the animals at all. I put marshmallows and honey in the traps. (Raccoons love anything sweet.) Since raccoons sleep during the day I was pretty sure it was under the deck while I was setting up my traps, so I blocked the traps up to the hole and left, hopeful that in the morning there would be a raccoon waiting for me.
Sure enough, the next morning the woman called to tell me we caught it! I drove to her house and found a very frustrated male raccoon, growling and making faces at me to show how upset it was that I had caught it. Before I left the job I closed up the area that the raccoon was getting into by patching the hole and burying wire under the ground around the porch to keep other animals from digging in. I loaded the raccoon into my truck and found a wonderful new home for him by a river, about twenty-five miles away from where I trapped him.
I use this same procedure when trapping squirrels out of attics or chimneys. Recently I had to rescue an American kestrel, a small bird of prey, out of a fireplace. I also work with bats, skunks, gophers, beavers, and any other small mammals that cause problems for people.
What I like most about this job is that I'm helping both people and animals by safely relocating the animals to a new home and relieving homeowners of their worries. I love the fact that I never know what to expect from day to day and I'm always sure to have some adventure along the way.
The most challenging aspect of this work is trying to understand the behaviors of different species of animals in order to figure out the best way to catch them. The job also requires climbing up on roofs to do inspections to try and figure out where the animals are getting into the houses. For someone who is afraid of heights, this may be a challenging thing to do.
I would definitely recommend this type of work to anyone who loves animals, enjoys being outdoors, and likes the idea of going on an adventure every day!
—Lisette of Golden, Colorado
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