May 19, 2004, VANCOUVER – Now that spring has finally arrived there will be numerous wild animals who will be at risk says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).
“Some of the most vulnerable animals are those who are having and raising their young,” says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “Fledgling birds learning from their parents how to fly, feed and care for themselves are often mistaken as abandoned and ‘rescued’,” states Hickey. “It is important for people who think that a baby animal has been abandoned to observe, from a safe distance, the creature for a couple of hours to ensure that its parents are not caring for it. Try to keep children and pets away from the animal.”
According to Hickey one situation where an animal does require assistance is when a hatchling or nestling has fallen out of a nest. “If you know where the nest is you can gently return the young bird to his/her home,” says Hickey. “Don’t worry about the belief that the bird will be rejected because you touched it, this belief is wrong as birds have a poor sense of smell.”
Wild animals who do require human assistance should be taken to a qualified wildlife rehabilitator. If you are not sure if a wild animal needs help or if you need help finding a wildlife rehabilitator in your area contact The Humane Society of Canada at 1-800-641-KIND (5463).
According to HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan, people need to be extra careful when driving in the spring and early summer as there are many more animals out and about compared to other times of the year.
“Spring also means that many animals who were hibernating or inactive during the winter months are out travelling considerable distances looking for food, mates and homes,” says O’Sullivan. Many of these animals are nocturnal and are killed by people driving at night. Often young, unable to survive on their own, slowly die when their parents are killed,” states O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan points out that one of the easiest and most effective ways to help animals, and ourselves, is to drive safely.
“Doing little things like adhering to the speed limit and minimizing the amount of night driving that we do will result in considerably fewer animal/vehicle collisions,” advises O’Sullivan. “And let others know about how they can protect animals – and themselves.”
Simple Ways to Help Wild Animals Near Your Home
- Wildlife-proof your home to avoid human/animal conflicts. Make sure that animals are not already using your home before you wildlife-proof it.
- Inspect your lawn before you mow it. Baby birds, rabbits, snakes and toads are just a few of the animals who may be in the grass that you are about to cut. (Rabbits as well as some birds like killdeer and meadowlarks nest on the ground.)
- Learn about when a wild animal needs help and when he/she needs to be left alone. If you’re not sure, call a wildlife rehabilitator or The Humane Society of Canada (1-800-641-KIND (5463)). Also learn how to rescue wild animals in need. By knowing who to contact and how to rescue animals ahead of time you will be prepared should such an emergency arise.
- Educate others about how they can help wild animals.
- Plant native trees, bushes and flowers.
- Don’t prune trees in the spring or summer – if at all. If you must prune a tree the best time to do so is in the winter or in the fall after the tree has lost its leaves.
- Avoid cutting down dead trees, unless absolutely necessary, as they provide food and shelter for many wild animals.
- Place falcon silhouettes (and similar items) in your windows to prevent birds from flying into the glass.
- Keep pets confined in your yard, on a leash or indoors and ask others to do the same. Each year, companion animals allowed to run at large kill and injure (or are killed or injured by) many wild animals.
- Do not use pesticides, herbicides or rodenticides. There are safe, humane alternatives.
- Provide appropriate housing for birds, bats, toads and other animals. Besides sometimes needing assistance in finding good shelter in a rapidly increasing urbanized world, these creatures naturally control pests consuming vast quantities of insects.
- Don’t encourage wild animals (either intentionally or otherwise) by leaving out garbage, pet food or allowing them access to the garage, shed or other areas.
- Pick-up garbage. Besides harming the environment many items, like six-ring, plastic can holders, can harm animals.
- Drive safely and obey the speed limit. If possible, try to minimize driving at night when many animals are killed.
- Learn about, respect and preserve natural areas – and encourage others to do the same.
Simple Ways to Help Animals While Driving
- Always drive the speed limit. You will have more time to react to an animal on the road if you are not speeding.
- Be on the lookout for animals when driving – especially when rounding a curve in the road or reaching the crest of a hill.
- Try to avoid driving at night when visibility is reduced and numerous nocturnal animals are out. If you must drive at night be extra cautious and drive the speed limit or even slightly less than the speed limit.
- Pay attention to animal crossing signs.
- If you see an animal and can safely slow down, do so as there may be others nearby. This is particularly true with deer.
- Be extra cautious when driving in areas where many animals live, such as forested areas and wetlands.
- Do not use your cell phone while driving.
- Educate others about how they can drive safely.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
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