Residents now have hotline to call to report nuisance animals

FILE — An Arkansas Game and Fish Commission sign in downtown Little Rock is shown in this 2019 file photo.

An expanded partnership between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should streamline the response to public reports of wild animals that poses a threat to people, livestock and property.

A new nuisance wildlife hotline, (833) 345-0315, is available 24 hours a day to provide guidance and assistance.

Bubba Groves, farm bill liaison in Game and Fish's Private Lands Habitat Division, said in the past people were sometimes asked to call a different number with a nuisance complaint.

"Some species like migratory birds and raptors require federal permits and oversight to deal with, while others like deer are handled at the state level. Then there are some animals, like feral hogs that are handled by multiple agencies," he said.

The new system also should expand the opportunities for all the agencies to work together in combating nuisance wildlife issues.

"We can also share the workload between two agencies rather than one which should reduce our overall workload addressing nuisance animals," Groves said.

Officials also note that smaller issues, such as raccoons and rodents getting into trash cans and squirrels invading someone's attic, likely still will be answered only with some advice on how to handle the situation and possible contact information for services who provide assistance for a fee.

"We simply don't have the manpower to cover all of those minor instances where the animal does not pose an immediate threat to people, livestock, crops or property," Groves said. "But we do have a lot of great information and guidance on our website."