Harm befalling our companion animals is unfathomable, but a reality that can occur when conflict with wildlife arises. Fortunately, there are numerous ways that both pets and wildlife can be who they are while still being safe and respectful of each others’ places.
- Get to know the neighbours. Understanding what wildlife calls your area home, what kind of foods they eat and how to safely be around them is a priority in preventing conflict with wildlife. In many media reports of negative interactions, residents were unaware of the presence or regular proximity of wildlife in their communities.
- Nature is at your backdoor. While fences can keep people out of backyards and children in, they do not pose a challenge for most native species in Canada. Animals like raccoons, possums, rodents, and community/outdoor cats are all outstanding climbers who can be targets of or lead to conflict with pets in backyards. Even larger animals like coyotes, bears and deer, who can also be at the centre of conflict, can get over fences. Other wildlife can quite capably and quickly get under fences, while the numerous birds of prey native to Canada won’t even notice them. Understanding that even urban backyards are a part of nature is paramount to preventing conflict.
- Be present with your pet. In more than 90% of media reported cases of dogs having negative interactions with coyotes, the dogs were off leash. Anecdotally, many incidents of dogs in backyards interacting with wildlife occur while the dog is on their own outside, often in the evening or morning hours. By being with our pets (and using our voices and presence) we can alert wildlife that we’re nearby and can more effectively mitigate conflict should it arise.
- Don’t feed the animals. Without question, one of the largest contributing factors to human conflict with wildlife is attractant management. By identifying and removing food sources (both direct and indirect) we can end a great deal of conflict before it begins.
We also ask you to consider the perspective of the other animals in many of the reported cases of conflict; often, wild animals are simply living their lives until they’re impacted by habitat change, feeding or the arrival of companion animals in their homes.
Humans have a role to play in preventing conflict with wildlife, and we’re encouraged to see more people accepting this responsibility every day!