“Good” and “Bad” Urban Wildlife


Urban environments offer habitat for many species of animals. Although some of those are ubiquitous and/or undesirable, others are native and in some cases, of conservation value. In many cases, urban wildlife populations are a source of enjoyment for human residents, who sometimes invest considerable amounts in attracting them to yards and public spaces. Their presence there can serve an important educational role that helps protect non-urban habitats and species. Nonetheless, urban wildlife must survive what has been termed a "landscape of fear." Although some of the urban wildlife that do well in this environment are benign, other populations - sometimes of a species that, in other locations, is iconic and desirable - can become problematic. Some species can serve as vectors that carry important zoonosis, such as the plague or diseases that affect other wildlife. Others can create noise or olfactory nuisances and degrade structures or usability of public spaces. Some pose hazards at busy airports, whereas still others may present an envenomation or predation risk on unwary humans. Here, we review the role that reptiles, birds, and mammals play in urban environments and discuss how urban wildlife rehabilitation centers help address some related issues. We close by looking ahead and trying to predict how global patterns such as increased urbanization and population growth may affect urban wildlife and its value for conservation.


Biological Sciences

Keywords and Phrases

Rehabilitation centers; Urban environments; Urban wildlife

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 2020