Local experts give tips on dealing with new wildlife

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee has around 1,500 different species of animals, making it one of the most diverse states in the country.

That means you might see some “unexpected” friends in West Tennessee.

“Now we’re seeing animals that are expanding their range again, naturally migrating back into areas that they used to be in,” said Amy Snider, who is in charge of outreach and communications for TWRA.

Snider says that in recent years, the TWRA has dealt with mountain lions, bears and even alligators in the West Tennessee region. But she reminds residents that they are not allowed to kill those animals.

“You may encounter one, and we just ask that you be smart, be safe, keep a distance away from them. Most of these animals are more scared of you than you are of them. Even an alligator is not going to hang around,” Snider said.

She also gave updates on the status of chronic wasting disease, which has affected deer in the area.

“We’ve already increased our surveillance of the outlying counties this year. We’ll be doing more samples in those areas. We’re just trying to find the leading edge, that way we can work to control it,” Snider said.

If you have questions on how to manage your land or how to deal with certain wildlife, you can contact your local TWRA office.

“Learn to live with Tennessee’s biodiversity. We are a very unique state with all the wildlife that we offer. So get out there and enjoy it,” Snider said.

Snider says residents should make sure they are up to date on regulations about transporting deer, as well as updated deer hunting season dates.

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