Those familiar with the cultural phenomenon of the zombie may think of it in a number of ways. It’s undead, shambling, and it’s trying to eat you. The Department of Conservation is offering a new way to view zombies:  as an invasive species.

Spokesman Joe Jerek says they fit the definition. Zombies are not native to Missouri (if anywhere), they have no natural predators to keep their population growth under control, and they wreak havoc on the state’s natural environment.

The Department is using the popularity of the monster to draw attention to some of its more standard messages. Its webpage entitled, “Flesh Afield,” ties zombies to topics like forestry, hunter safety and ways to avoid more real-world invasive species like the algae didymo, or “rock snot.” For example, it has this to say about tree stand safety:

The Conservation Department says tree stand safety is important in eluding zombies. Courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation.


“A tree stand is a readily defensible position, but keep in mind that free-standing tree stands can be toppled by a small pack of zombies. Follow manufacturers’ instructions when setting up your stand. There are unconfirmed reports that some zombies may be capable of climbing tree stands.

Always practice proper tree stand safety and wear a safety harness. Falling from a tree stand can injure you or make you dead. Falling from a tree stand into the gaping maw of a zombie can make you undead.”

Jerek says the idea came from the Centers for Disease Control, who in May posted a blog on preparing for a zombie apocalypse. As Health Communication Specialist Maggie Silver explains, many of the ways someone might prepare for the fictional event overlap with how one can prepare for more real-world scenarios, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The Conservation Department wanted to have fun with the message without getting out of hand. It does not refer to things like how to dispatch zombies. Suggesting things like shooting a zombie conflict with its messages of hunter safety, and never pointing a firearm at a human being.

It does, however, suggest the public avoid cauliflower fields. Jerek says zombies might be attracted there due to the resemblance between those flowering heads and the creature’s preferred food, brains.

To see more tips, visit the Department’s page, “Flesh Afield,” here.