Oct 8, 2009

Grandma’s VS. Raccoons today

by Katherin McGill

Not so long ago a person would think twice about threatening a mother raccoon. My grandfather taught me such wisdom as we walked thru the woods near his house. He said, “Beyond their survival needs, animals abide by Live and let Live, and it’s best if we humans do the same”.

Sadly, society today has very little comprehension of animals beyond domestic pets and livestock. More human’s means further encroachment on wildlife habitat. The best antidote for conflicts? KNOWLEDGE!

Urban wildlife is a fact of life, yet so many particulars are unknown to us. If all we are told is presented as a risk or a nuisance of course we won’t appreciate nature, or have any patience. Less sensationalizing and more sensible education is the missing link today.

Education should not come from fear: “Don’t approach wild animals / secure trash and pet food / report ‘strange’ activity” is good advice, but severely inadequate. How do we even know what “strange” is anymore! Healthy nocturnal animals DO venture out during daylight, yet do you know why? Or what vital roles each wild animal plays in a critically important and balanced ecosystem?

When humans lose patience with wildlife the agencies responsible for managing it will also, and the balance dangerously tips. Management then becomes more about regulation enforcement and essential education regresses further. Please, implore agencies, and the governments above them, to implement and support educating the public and renewing appreciation for urban wildlife.

Take children to Nature parks, surf the intranet, invite wildlife rehabilitators and educators into our schools, and truly learn about our wild, interesting neighbors. You will be amazed by what you have NOT been told! We all win with peaceful coexistence, and we definitely all lose without it. ‘Live and let live’ is still very manageable – and even quite enjoyable!