Wild Jobs: Wildlife Damage Biologist Jim Braithwait

By | April 1, 2010
From Xplor: April/May 2010

Is a beaver gnawing your boat dock? Jim Braithwait has the solution.

Jim Braithwait is a problem-solver. Is a raccoon raiding your trash? Has a skunk slunk under your deck? Is your pond otter-full and fishless? As a wildlife damage biologist, Jim studies animals to help people solve problems.

If a coyote is killing calves, Jim searches for clues, such as tracks, scat and fur. Once he knows the killer coyote’s habits, he sets a trap to catch it.

Jim once had to trap a 150-pound black bear after it broke into a house looking for food. This time, people were to blame. They had been feeding the bear. “I wish people would learn to coexist with animals,” Jim says. He recommends feeding pets inside and locking up trash cans so wild animals eat wild food instead of people food. To learn more about animals, Jim traveled to Florida and Wyoming to track mountain lions with dogs and to Arkansas to weigh hibernating bear cubs.

“The best way to learn about animals is to watch them in their own habitat,” says Jim. “Hiking, camping, fishing and hunting are great ways to see animals in the wild.”

And More...

This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Joan McKee
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Alicia Weaver
Cliff White
Kipp Woods