Urban Wildlife


Mother raccoon and baby People often forget how many species of wildlife can co-exist with humans in an urban setting. In many cases, humans have moved into animals’ territories. We sometimes have problems living together, but generally it is considered smart for us to make room for native wildlife outside our homes and in our communities. With observation and careful planning, great habitats for wildlife can be created in urban environments.


Conflicts Between Animals and Humans

Human-animal conflict over territory, food, or other resources has become a critical issue in recent years.  Wild animals are increasingly coming into contact with people as cities continue to sprawl into undeveloped regions. Urban, suburban, and exurban growth can increase edge habitat, creating more opportunity for humans and wildlife to come into contact.

The welfare and safety of humans depend on a thorough understanding of urban wildlife and their interactions with the landscape created by humans. Companion animals are often at risk from interactions with urban wildlife and may require extra precautions to ensure their protection from native predators. Urban wildlife research can seek out solutions to human-wildlife conflicts to minimize property damage and safety risks while still preserving intact wildlife populations.

In developed countries, many wild animals are killed each year because people regard them as a nuisance.  According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, “For every perceived conflict with wildlife, there is a humane solution. Drowning, trapping, poisoning, using glue traps, and other cruel wildlife ‘control’ methods cause animals terrible, needless suffering.”  

Fortunately, there are many animal protection groups that are helping to tackle the problem and spread the word about non-lethal solutions.  Animal Advocates of Western New York is one of these groups.  Our organization strives to be proactive about human-animal conflicts. Before final decisions are made, we consult with wildlife experts so we can bring the facts with us to town meetings and other venues, plus we write letters and make phone calls to our elected officials, always encouraging them to implement non-lethal solutions that have proven to be effective in other areas.


Ways in Which You Can Help

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/wild_neighbors (Humane Society of the United States)

Commmon dilemmas with wild animals in and around your home, yard, garden or office do not have to result in the animal(s) being killed. There are non-lethal solutions for any wild animal problems that you may encounter in an urban environment.  We believe that these solutions should be given priority when addressing conflicts between people and wildlife.

http://www.pleasebekind.com/coexist.html  (Compassionate Action Institute)

When wild animals take up residence in someone’s home, destroy the garden, rummage through garbage cans or raid the songbird feeder, they are just looking for food or a place to live -- they don’t deserve to be killed for such actions. At this website, you can read about various wild neighbors to alleviate some of your fears and concerns and then try some suggestions for handling conflicts with them non-lethally.



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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