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"Texas Airport to Look at Ways to Discourage Critters"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arlington Airport to Look at Ways to Discourage Critters 
Airport hopes study shows how to keep wildlife out
By Mola Lenghi
KXAS-TV Ch 5 (NBC), Dallas/Fort Worth (TX)

The Arlington Municipal Airport is looking at ways to keep unwanted wildlife
off its grounds.

The airport is home to dozens of airplanes, but everything from coyotes to
feral hogs can be also spotted at the facility.

"We see coyotes in abundance," said Karen Vanwinkle, airport assistant
manager. "We also see raccoons and on occasion a beaver. We also see small
types of mammals such as field mice and possum and, of course, we do see
migratory birds as well."

The airport has received a grant to conduct a 12-monthlong wildlife
assessment to determine what steps it should take to keep wildlife out.

"The nice thing about the wildlife hazard assessment is that we hope to
learn natural techniques to mitigate the effect the wildlife have on our
operations," Vanwinkle said.

Such techniques could range from how the grass is mowed to what types of
plant seed are used.

Animals access the airport grounds from nearby woods and creeks.

Up to now, the animals merely have been a nuisance, but officials say they
can be much more.

The animals can be dangerous -- birds can get caught in engines, and feral
hogs can tamper with landing equipment such as lighting.

"We can see wildlife on any part of the airport, particularly our coyotes
are on the west side of the airport, but occasionally they like to send
themselves on the runway," Vanwinkle said.

Air traffic controllers usually spot the animals right away and dispatch
crews to chase them away, she said.

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