Once you have captured an animal, you must do something with it. The law forbids WCOs from keeping animals in traps for more than a short time. In many cases, the law does not allow moving the animal and releasing it at another location. 

Relocation” refers to moving and releasing an animal within its home range. Relocation is sometimes referred to as onsite release, and is usually a short distance away from the capture point. 

Translocation” means moving a nuisance animal from one place to another outside of its home range. Translocating animals is not recommended. Moving animals may spread disease or cause problems in new places.  If you must move an animal, take it as short a distance as possible. For the best chance of survival, release it within its home range. 

Translocated animals rarely stay in the release area. They often have low survival rates because they do not find a suitable habitat. As a result, these translocated animals often experience a slow and stressful death, as opposed to a quick and humane death administered by a trained WCO. Many states prohibit translocating or relocating almost all wildlife.  However, when the WCO removes the animals from inside dwellings or structures, they can be released in the immediate vicinity outside these buildings.

Humane dispatch refers to humanely terminating an animal’s life, if possible, using veterinary approved methods for euthanizing animals. The body must be disposed of safely, legally, and ethically. Animals are protected by the public trust, and in many cases protected by additional laws, even when they can be lethally removed.

The information on this webpage is based on the contents of the Wildlife Control Operator Core Training Manual published by the National Wildlife Control Training Program.