Throughout America, homes are taking over the lands that wildlife once roamed. In fact, you can be sure that your home is built on what used to be the hunting grounds of a wolf, mountain lion, or other fierce predator.
But the sad fact for nature is that humans need homes, and homes must be built on land. And the sad fact for us is, as much as we try to leave land for the animals to roam, many have begun to see humans as a part of nature, and have begun adapting to life among us.
Things such as fires, lack of food, and over-crowding can lead a wild animal to begin looking for food in areas populated by humans. And to add fuel to the fire, some people find these animals to be cute, or in need, and take it upon themselves to feed the animals. Not only will this cause more wild animals to frequent neighborhoods, but it will teach them that humans and food are related, which can quickly lead to tragedies.
Wild animals that do not learn to fear humans will begin to see our small children (or, in the case of larger animals, even adults) as prey.
Coyotes have been known to attack small children in parks and schoolyard playgrounds, and areas frequented by wild animals often notice pets vanish at an alarming and heartbreaking rate.
Keep Food Away
If you know of anyone who has been feeding wild animals (we aren’t talking about feral cats here), try to explain to them why they should stop. If your words fall on death ears, call animal control and ask them for advice about the next step. Authority figures are often all it will take to convince someone to adjust their actions.
Next, take a good look at your own habits. Even if you haven’t been purposely feeding wild animals, you may be attracting them. Be sure your trash cans are kept firmly closed, and at night bring your pet’s food (and your pets!) into your home.
Keep Wildlife in Fear
The best way to keep wildlife away from human populated areas is to keep the animals fearing us.
Though many feel badly about doing this, and feel it goes against what we were all taught as children about how to treat animals, wildlife should never be allowed to feel safe or secure in our neighborhoods.
If you spot an animal (such as a coyote) in your neighborhood, the first step is to call animal control. They may wish to handle the situation differently.
This is especially important to teach to children, and to remember in cases of neighborhoods residing near forests or mountains. The animal should always be scared away and taught to fear humans. This doesn’t mean they should be tortured or harmed, and only trained hunters should ever hunt an animal during the proper season.
To scare a wild animal away, do not chase it or corner it. When an animal’s fight or flight instinct is triggered, you do not want to be near it if it decides to fight. Yell, scream, wave your arms and throw objects. (As cruel as it may sound, throwing small rocks at an animal will frighten it away. I am not suggesting you hit or harm the animal in any way. Remember, you are not punishing the animal. You are teaching it to fear humans.)
Never approach the animal, and if the animal is close to, or advancing towards you, it is best to go indoors and call the proper authorities in your area.