I reviewed published and unpublished papers, government reports, and websites to estimate how many people are injured or killed each year by wildlife or stricken by a zoonotic disease. Over 47,000 people annually in the United States sought medical attention after being attacked or bitten by wildlife, and approximately 8 people died annually. Most bites were by snakes, birds, rodents, and raccoons (Procyon lotor). Each year, wildlife–vehicle collisions resulted in >59,000 human injuries and >440 human fatalities, while wildlife–aircraft collisions added 16 more injuries and 10 fatalities. I also found that >68,000 people each year sought medical assistance for a zoonotic disease, and 243 of these cases were fatal. When wildlife-related casualties and fatalities are summed, >174,000 people were injured or sickened and >700 were killed by wildlife annually. These figures do not mean that wildlife populations should be reduced; they do indicate, however, that wildlife biologists have an opportunity to serve society by preventing human injuries, morbidities, and fatalities resulting from wildlife. In doing so, wildlife biologists will also be protecting the future of wildlife.
Conover, Michael R.
"Numbers of Human Fatalities, Injuries, and Illnesses in the United States Due to Wildlife,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 13:
2, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol13/iss2/12