How do you think wild animals are getting hurt? You might think that they fall out of trees, have a fight with another animal, or get injured by predators, but this is rarely true! Wildlife is getting damaged by things that PEOPLE put into the environment.
We all know that garbage is causing a lot of problems around the world. It is hurting animals right here in Alberta too! We regularly get animals into our hospital that are tangled in plastic bags and wrappers, caught up in fishing line or string, or get their heads caught in bottles, jars, and lids. They also fall into oil, tar, and paint. *Link to garbage solution.
Have you ever had a bird hit your window? Billions of birds die every year from collisions with windows, both on people’s homes and on large glass towers in the cities. Birds get confused by the reflection on a window, thinking they are flying into more sky or trees. They hit hard, often causing broken bones, concussions, and internal bleeding. (They do not break their necks, like many people think.) *Link to window solution.
Do you have a cat? They make great pets! But they can cause a lot of troubles if running loose outdoors. Domestic cats are killing millions of birds in Canada each year. Cats naturally want to chase things, but wild birds are not what they should be playing with. Cats are also in a lot of danger themselves when they run loose as they can get hit by a car, lost, eaten by a coyote, or trapped by a neighbour who doesn’t like cats using their garden as a litter box! *Link to cat solution.
Other things that people put in the environment that hurts wildlife include barbed wire, electrical lines, and vehicles.
Have you ever heard that bats will get tangled in your hair? Or that porcupines shoot their quills? Has someone told you about an owl carrying away their cow? These are all stories that are completely untrue, but unfortunately these, and many, many others, have been believed over the years. People have hated, been afraid of, or even hurt animals, all because of these stories.
Have you ever had a rumour told about you at school that wasn’t true? How did it make you feel? Rumours are dangerous and it’s always important to do your research and find out the truth about anything you hear.
Caring Too Much
There’s nothing better than a big heart! Wanting to help and keep wildlife safe is just what we want to see. However, sometimes wild animals don’t need our help and it’s important to know when to intervene. For instance, some kinds of baby animals are meant to be alone, take time to learn to fly, or are very fragile. Injured animals need specific care and food which is best handled by a wildlife professional.