Opossum with babies on its back
Two skunks on security footage


Lincoln Park Zoo scientists are studying human-wildlife conflict data from Chicagoland to determine when, where, and with what species urban wildlife conflicts typically occur to improve prevention efforts.


Lincoln Park Zoo scientists are partnering with a local wildlife control and prevention company to determine temporal, spatial, and socioeconomic predictors of human-wildlife conflict. Using available service data, they are able to see where and when human-wildlife conflicts in Chicagoland occur and what wildlife are typically involved. This project focuses on the four species the company receives the most service requests for—squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and skunks— to determine if landscape characteristics (such as level of urbanization, distance to water, and vacant land) and socioeconomic factors (such as income) contribute to conflict risk with these species. With this knowledge, human-wildlife conflict prevention efforts—including public education, wildlife management, and exclusion methods— can be deployed in a more targeted manner in Chicagoland and other similar urban environments.

Study Objectives

To better understand human-wildlife conflicts in urban areas, researchers with the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute are attempting to answer the following questions:

  1. Which species are responsible for the most human-wildlife conflict?
  2. At what time of year do conflicts typically occur?
  3. What wildlife demographics (age, sex) are responsible for the most conflict?
  4. What landscape and socioeconomic factors are associated with areas of higher conflict?

Preventing Urban-Wildlife Conflict at Home

Live Wildlife Friendly infographic. Observe, don't disturb. Call a professional. Stash your trash. Replace and repair

The Chicago Rat Project

Lincoln Park Zoo scientists with the Urban Wildlife Institute also study other species, such as rats, in urban areas.



Urban Wildlife Institute
Wildlife Disease Ecologist
Urban Wildlife Institute
Assistant Director
Urban Wildlife Institute
Empty Playlist