Most of the wild animals brought to our clinic suffer from injuries or problems caused by humans.
Since most people try to avoid causing harm to other living things, we decided to put together a list of things to do, or not do, to help wildlife. The list is in no particular order of importance, but if everyone follows these suggestions, our caseload would be dramatically reduced.
1. Prevent your pet cats and dogs from attacking and/or "playing with" wildlife. Don't allow them to run without supervision, and raise your cats as indoor pets. Many injured animals are brought to the clinic each year with terrible wounds from dog and cat attacks.
2. Alert birds to large expanses of glass in your home, such as patio doors or picture windows, by hanging streamers, putting bird silhouettes on the glass surface, or allow the glass to be a little bit dirty. Reducing the reflection should cut down on the number of birds who collide, often fatally, with windows and doors.
3. Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife yourself. Not only is it illegal, but wild creatures do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. Young wild animals raised without contact with their own species fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans, virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild. Also please read and aply the following guidelines:
Prevent cats and dogs from attacking and/or playing with wildlife. Keep cats indoors or on a leash. Many animals are brought to the hospital with terrible wounds from dog or cat attacks.
Place caps over all chimneys and vents on your roof to prevent birds, ducks and raccoons from taking up residence and becoming a nuisance or getting trapped.
Educate children to respect all wild creatures and their habitats. Unattended infant wildlife are not always orphaned. A parent may be nearby or will return soon. Be sure they are in need of help before you rescue them. Do not attempt to care for wildlife on yourown; state and federal permits are required, and the needs of wildlife are very different from the needs of domestic pets.
Do not leave fishing line or fish hooks unattended or lying about outdoors. Try to retrieve any kite string left on the ground or entangled in trees.
Pick up garbage that could harm wildlife, including six-pack rings (be sure to cut through each circle before throwing away), plastic grocery bags, ballooons, monofilament fishing line, and watch batteries (if consumed by waterfowl they can cause mercury poisoning).
Before mowing your lawn, walk through the area first to check for rabbits or ground-nesting birds.
Check trees to make sure there are no active nests or residents of cavities before cutting them down. Even better, avoid cutting down dead trees if they pose no safety hazard, since they provide homes for a wide variety of wildlife.
Use non-toxic products on your lawn and garden.
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