Virginia residents have a new resource available for dealing with wildlife issues, from bats in your attic to bears in your trash cans and everything in between. The Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline, a joint venture between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the USDA Wildlife Services with assistance from Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Farm Bureau of Virginia, was launched in October. The helpline offers residents “one-stop shopping” for addressing wildlife issues.

Calls are routed through a central switchboard, which, according to Extension Specialist Jim Parkhurst, provides three main benefits: (1) callers receive consistent, accurate, and timely information and are directed to appropriate professionals for technical assistance when necessary; (2) the VDGIF can tabulate valuable data about the types and locations of conflicts across the state to better direct resource allocation and to define and prioritize research needs; and (3) field staff, freed from responding to routine inquiries, can focus on other important on-the-ground needs.

The Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline is available toll-free at 855-571-9003 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.