Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rescuing Wildlife in Calgary: Potentially Harmful to Young Animals

Every spring concerned Calgarians attempt to rescue baby wildlife.

“Well-intentioned Calgarians try to save young wildlife but in most cases, the young do not need rescuing,” says Bill Bruce, the Director of The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services. “The young have not been abandoned by their parents. People are unknowingly interfering with nature.”

Indeed, babies are often left unattended while parents forage for food. Members of the deer family hide their young to protect them. Young birds learning to fly can safely fall out of a nest.

If people disturb young wildlife or nesting sites, they could potentially meet a protective, angry parent. They could also be creating a situation where the young will now be abandoned.

So, what should concerned citizens do? If you see a situation involving wildlife in our city and are concerned about their health or safety, report it to 3-1-1. 3-1-1 staff will direct you to the appropriate organization: Alberta Fish & Wildlife, Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Rehabilitation to provide information or assistance if required.

Calgarians should also call 9-1-1 if they come across a moose, cougar or bear within the city.

Another risk to wildlife is people who feed them. This makes wildlife, including coyotes, dependent on humans and greatly reduces their chances of survival.

Remember that pet food, birdseed or water in a back yard will attract unwanted wildlife. Similarly, ensure that garbage is stored in an animal-proof container and not set out until after 7 p.m. the night before collection.

Homeowners can also protect wildlife by being proactive and ensuring that their porches, decks, balconies or storage sheds are sealed and do not become den sites.

Dog owners can play an active role in protecting wildlife by keeping their dogs leashed or away from natural areas, ravines and nesting areas along with removing any dog waste.

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