MSU Berryman Seminar to focus on human-wildlife conflicts


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Posted: 11/15/2005


A key administrator with the federal Wildlife Service will be the featured speaker Nov. 29 for the 2005 Berryman Institute Seminar at Mississippi State University.

Rich Chipman, New York state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture agency, will lead an hourlong public program beginning at 10:30 a.m. in 208A Thompson Hall.

Chipman's office deals regularly with such issues as bird/airplane collisions at John F. Kennedy International Airport, crow roosts high atop New York City skyscrapers and urban rat ecology, among others. Wildlife Services is a major unit of the agriculture department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Chipman's staff also faces challenges similar to those found in the Southeast, including cormorant impacts on commercial fisheries and the spread of rabies-infected wild animals.

Founded in 1993, the national Jack H. Berryman Institute works to improve human-wildlife relationships, resolve human-wildlife conflicts and increase public understanding of wildlife and human-wildlife conflicts.

Two years ago, MSU became headquarters for the institute's Eastern branch. Utah State University, where Berryman was a specialist in wildlife management, leads the Western branch.

Institute co-director Bruce Leopold, head of MSU's department of wildlife and fisheries, said the Eastern branch conducts research from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes shores of Michigan, and all along the Eastern seaboard.

He said the institute has supported two graduate fellowships at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., to study fish population response to the management of the double-crested cormorant, and to evaluate suburban woodpecker damage and deterrents. Research also has been funded to the State University of New York to evaluate non-lethal bird repellent use at airports.

"New York offers a unique environment to practice the art and science of wildlife damage management," Leopold said. "Rich Chipman's program will provide an insight into the many challenges facing wildlife management professionals everywhere."

As an example, Leopold said wildlife hazards to United States aviation cost more than $500 million annually and pose a clear hazard to flight crews and passengers.

"From 1979-2004, for example, the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey reported [to Chipman's agency] between 90 and 315 aircraft collisions each year with birds at JFK," he said. Those bird strikes resulted in 90 aborted takeoffs and at least 70 incidents resulting in substantial damage, he added.

"Life-threatening situations such as these are among the many human-wildlife conflicts the Berryman Institute constantly is working to address," Leopold said.

For more information on the Berryman Institute or the Nov. 29 Berryman Seminar, contact Leopold at (662) 325-2615 or

Wildlife and Fisheries