Living with abundant wildlife

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Despite a much-anticipated early spring being delayed by our recent winter weather, the first robins have been spotted, so it won't be long!

At any rate, here's some heady advice concerning the arrival of spring and how man can best peacefully co-exist and avoid conflict with the many creatures of wildlife.

After a long winter, wild animals are very active, hungry and a little bit desperate while foraging for food. Consequently, they are more likely to interact with humans who don't take the steps to avoid that.

With the onset of spring, wildlife experts suggest that people clean their barbecue grills or bring them inside after each use, cover compost piles, and either stop feeding birds or suspend feeders at least 10 feet above the ground.

A few don'ts to consider are: Don't leave trash outside, don't feed pets outside, and don't leave pets alone outside - especially when it's dark and many of the nocturnal animals are roaming.

We also should be particularly aware of wild animals while driving, especially near dawn and dusk. If you see one animal cross the road ahead of you, there are probably more to follow. Slowing down and paying attention may prevent a serious or costly accident.

Human and wildlife conflicts can be prevented or at least minimized by logical solutions. Some strategies include landscape changes, critter proofing, repellents, and fencing. Humane solutions like these provide long-term, cost- effective solutions and better enable us to live in harmony with wildlife.

Besides our normal wildlife critters such as deer, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, fox, squirrels, gophers, moles, weasels, ground hogs, skunks, snakes, turtles, beavers, muskrats, mice, rats, waterfowl and other birds, Iowa is now home to mountain lions, wolves, bobcats and, every once in a while, a rare bear or a loose moose.

Pay attention out there, folks.