It's up to humans to minimize wildlife encounters


Humans like to pretend that fencing off our individual properties makes that area exclusively “ours,” but that memo hasn’t been passed along to the natural world. In Three Rivers, learning to live in tune with the wildlife that surround your living space is important. 

Whether you just want to make sure that your actions/products are not harming wildlife or want to go all out and turn your backyard into a certified wildlife garden, it is important to know some simple tips on how to co-habitate with wildlife.

When people have problems with animals, too often they tend to blame the beast instead of themselves, wildlife management specialists say. If people’s image of nature was closer to reality, there would be fewer problems — and fewer perceived problems, they say.

If you see a bear or a coyote or a fox in your yard, the animal is most likely not there because it wants to eat you, your children, or even your pet. However, chances are the animal is looking for something to eat — that’s how animals spend most of their waking hours — so if the presence of a predator makes you nervous, make sure the animal doesn’t find anything to fill its stomach.

Humans provide a veritable buffet with their poor garbage disposal habits. It’s especially bad in Three Rivers right now.

Take a drive on any early morning to see the trash cans alongside the roads that had contents that became a bear’s midnight snack.

Here are a few simple things that can make your yard less attractive to wandering wildlife:

— Keep garbage in secure containers, and do not put it outside until the morning it is due to be picked up, not the night before. At other times, keep garbage in a secure place like a garage or a shed.

—Don’t put meat, or any animal products in compost heaps.

—Don’t feed any wild animal (except for songbirds). Feeding a wild animal puts it at risk because it encourages the animal to think of humans as sources of food. As for the birds, try not to leave too much seed on the ground under the birdfeeder and make sure that hummingbird feeders are not an attractant.

—Secure enclosures that house birds or small animals. Electric wire around a chicken enclosure, for instance, is a good deterrent for predatory animals.

—Don’t leave your pet — particularly small ones like cats or little dogs — outside overnight. 

—Make sure domesticated animals are current on their rabies immunizations.

—Do not leave pet food outside after the companion animal is done eating.

—Regularly clean barbecue grills.

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