MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Recently, a pair of moose wandered onto Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, reminding Airmen and their families of the animals who coexist in the local area.
“While fun to see and sometimes interact with, wildlife is just that, wild,” said Lt. Col. Brian Tileston, 5th Bomb Wing chief of safety.
Living in a rural area can make occurrences of seeing wildlife more common.
“We have a plethora of wildlife in the local area and they pose a harmful risk to the people and operations at Minot Air Force Base,” said Tileston.
Minot AFB works with U.S. Department of Agriculture to deter wildlife away from base operations.
“Because of the complexity and sensitivity involved in managing wildlife hazards, Minot AFB contracts a USDA Wildlife Services Airport Biologist trained in wildlife hazard management at airports,” said Nicholas Suzda, USDA safety representative. “We evaluate hazards, provide training, and assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of a Bird and wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Plan.”
Suzda said, the primary focus of the BASH program is to manage habitats by altering vegetation and water, while also creating barriers to make the airfield and surrounding areas unappealing to species that pose a hazard to aircraft, as well as human health and safety.
Safety of the people and the mission are the main concerns for the impact wildlife has around Minot AFB.
“In the last five years at Minot AFB alone there have been 106 reported wildlife strikes resulting in $129,497 in damages to aircraft,” said Suzda.
The safety office works to peacefully keep animals away from the base.
“In the end, we must remember that they were here first and now we are doing what we can to cohabitate peacefully and enjoy them at the appropriate distance while still conducting the functions and missions required of us in defense of our nation,” said Tileston.
If a wild animal is spotted on base, personnel should call Suzda at (701)723-7771.