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Balancing the Needs of Wildlife and People

Popular culture would have us believe that wildlife conservation is the result of scientists in tactical vests trekking into the wilderness in search of species to protect. Some conservation works that way, but many wildlife wins are borne from something much more ordinary: Biological consulting 

When transportation agencies expand freeways or home developers build new communities, biological consultants like our BioServices team monitor these projects and determine their impact on wildlife. They also advise on ways to lessen those impacts, and collect data to inform conservation efforts. 

When bridges needed replacement in urban areas of San Diego County, we found the bats that called those bridges home. We guided project schedules to avoid disturbing the bats during critical times, like when female Mexican free-tailed bats gather to protect their vulnerable, flightless pups. 

And long after the last scrape of the excavator, we continued to be there. For the twelfth year in a row, museum scientists monitored the population of Least Bell’s Vireos within the Otay Ranch Preserve. We guided management decisions so that the preserve continues to provide high-quality breeding habitat for this federally endangered bird.     

In many places, land and infrastructure development are at complete odds with environmental wellbeing. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. As beneficiaries of both a healthy ecosystem and a thriving metropolis, we aim to strike a balance that works for everyone—from humans to hummingbirds and everything in between.  

Posted by Cypress Hansen, Science Communications Manager and Brenna Ogg, Senior Biologist for BioServices.

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