The other day I saw a mother raccoon crossing four lanes of a busy street with her two cubs following quickly behind. She looked back briefly at various points to make sure her little ones were still there. I tapped my breaks to signify I was slowing down just in case anyone was behind me, they weren’t, so I stopped. At least in this lane nothing was going to happen.
I have observed the odd idiot driver who appeared to intentionally move towards a squirrel and witnessed the aftermath of an even bigger loser who drove so fast he plowed into a family of geese, killing one of the goslings. This, by the way, was despite three signs warning of geese crossing in the area. The behaviour afterward by the two adult geese, and one small sibling, confirmed my belief that they too feel the pain of loss.
Every week I see the bodies of animals that don’t make it. They are left to be a scavengers meal or perhaps picked up by someone who makes them disappear from our landscape. Both wildlife and humans are battling for space and nobody is really winning.
Humans and wildlife are in conflict all the time. With the constant development of roads and homes, displacement is a real threat to their existence. Setting aside the mass destruction that happens when rural land turns into commercial space let’s think about our own backyards and neighbourhoods.
We claim areas that were once wildly full of waist high grass, weeds, shrubs and trees, and make it into a human friendly space. That once natural habitat was home to wild birds and animals who expect to come back to the same space where they have rested, ate, mated, nurtured their young and engaged in all manner of wild but purposeful behaviour. But this is unacceptable to some humans and their response is…HOW DARE THEY!
How dare they come out from their dens with cubs in tow, to show their young this environment, to demonstrate natural behaviour that is integral to their survival like foraging for food or worse yet relieving themselves of that food!
How dare they fly around making noise, picking up our scraps, leaving a mess by digging in our manicured grass for leather jacket bugs and other lawn pests!
How dare they eat our fruit and berries that are usually too numerous for us to consume, or mess up our pretty flower beds!
How dare they come back for more even though we trained them to trust us by leaving out treats and/or meals for our own pets.
Yes, these are desperate times for wildlife. They need to go up in trees to escape the machinery below. Move further away to find food and shelter, risking an unfriendly welcome and possibly a daily battle with others seeking the same basic needs. Displacement isn’t easy for any species.
Some people will not co-exist with animals and for those that find it particularly difficult I have suggestions:
- Don’t try to handle these animal problems yourself by cruel means but instead hire a proper trapper and have them removed. Know, and I doubt you care, that they will likely be euthanized or put in an area where they will be unfamiliar and challenged for territory – which also can end in death. You will likely have to repeat this process over and over again. Set aside money or start your own critter removal business.
- Accept some animals, birds and insects are going to invade your territory, (possibly once theirs) or migrate your way for reasons outside of their control. Choose carefully your next steps. A well-informed next step might be in best interests or conversely the wrong next step might be a reminder that karma is a bitch.
- Go live in a concrete juggle with pavement all around and move into a suite on one of the highest floors. From there you can look around and see the human species in their dens, foraging for food, teaching their young and on occasion even mating. You can hear noise from their cars, music and squawking or should I say talking. Know that you don’t have to deal with any pesky wildlife as long as you stay up in your ivory tower. Unless, of course, a poor bird happens to land on your railing or hit your clean glass window.