Turning the clocks forward this Sunday (March 12) as Daylight Saving Time begins is a pretty simple change most of us make once a year. But for the animals who share our communities with us, it can be hazardous.
Daylight Saving Time is observed across Canada, except for Saskatchewan (and maybe soon Alberta), and is supposed to save energy, and potentially increase productivity. Though the arguments for and against DST have raged for decades, one thing that it doesn’t affect is animal behaviour.
Wildlife behaviour is impacted by things like resource availability, pressure from predators or competitors, and the environment itself. A somewhat arbitrary time change for people, therefore, won’t impact their behaviour. And that can lead to conflict.
Across much of North America (and the world), human activity will suddenly be shifted forward an hour. Everything from when vehicles are on the road, to when the garbage gets taken out will change, and that can put wildlife in a precarious position. Here are three ways we can make this unusual transition easier on the animals with whom we share our communities:
- Keep your eyes on the road. We’ll all be a little more tired this week, so it’s important we pay extra attention as we drive. Look for animals along the side of the road, and remember where there’s one, there may be more.
- Slow down. Being tired also means we might end up being in a rush to get to work, home, school, or wherever else we’re headed. Do your best to give yourself some extra time this week so you’re able to slow down and keep yourself, and the animals, safer.
- Dogs should be leashed/supervised. Morning and evening walks with our dogs are great fun and relaxing, but they can be very stressful for local wildlife if our dogs give chase or roam too close to a den site. Our schedules will be shifting as a result of DST, so remember that the routine wildlife is used to will be changing, too.
Wild animals want the same thing we do: a safe place to raise our families. By using these and other co-existence methods, we can live in communities that are safe for us all.