It's a popular myth that the animal that is a nuisance on your property can simply be "relocated." It sounds easy enough and one would think that it might be the best for property owner and nuisance animal. However, it's rare that relocated animals have a good chance of survival, and moving them may even affect the survival of animals in their new "home."
- Relocation can be stressful to wild animals. They may experience elevated heart rates and breathing rates, high blood pressure, acute changes in blood chemistry and depressed appetites. These factors in turn may make them more vulnerable to disease or predation.
- Relocated animals have no prior experience with their new homes which immediately puts them at a disadvantage in finding food and shelter. Most animals that cause problems are common and widespread, such as fox, opossum, and raccoon. That means that almost all areas that could be places to relocate nuisance animals already have established populations of those animals.
- Animals released in a new territory lack the local knowledge to fit in with existing animal hierarchies. They risk fights with resident animals and exclusion from feeding areas and den sites.
- Releasing animals may help spread disease. Just as we humans spread disease among our populations by traveling, animals can bring diseases into new areas when they are relocated, thus impacting the resident animal populations.
- A relocation site may not have all the basic needs for the animal to survive. Although the site may look suitable to us, it may lack proper food or shelter.
- The combination of the previous factors often caused animals to leave the release area. The animal may aimlessly wander for miles, and is accountable for high mortality in released animals.
In summary, relocation sounds appealing, but it is tough on the transported animals and can have negative impacts on the animal populations where they are released. Our goal is to co-exist with Florida's wild animals and we owe it to them to seek low stress and hopefully non-lethal solution to nuisance animal problems. Usually, that means modifying our own behavior.
All live-captured bobcats must be released. Other live-captured nuisance wildlife must be released or euthanized within 24 hours of capture or trap inspection. In addition, nuisance wildlife may be transported and released at an off-site location that is within the county of capture and a minimum of 40 contiguous acres if the animal is a native species; the releaser has written permission from the owner of the release site; and the transportation of the wildlife does not violate any rabies alert or area quarantine issued by a county health department or county animal service.
More information nuisance wildlife is available on our Wildlife Assistance webpage.