Forest fires, droughts, heat waves, and other weather events can be hard on communities – and even harder on wildlife with whom we share the landscape.
While providing a meal may seem like the best way to help, feeding wildlife remains a dangerous prospect, as it can change their behaviour, migration, and drive them closer to other humans who aren’t prepared for a close encounter. But it isn’t the only option, and we at The Fur-Bearers want to make sure you know what else you can do to help.
- Provide fresh water. A small bowl or bird bath, regularly cleaned and removed if it becomes too popular a spot, can be a great relief to animals of all stripes and sizes. Make sure you place it as far from your home as possible, and in an area where animals won’t be disturbed by people.
- Plant locally. Growing native species of plants is a way to bolster your local ecosystem – and in a time of extreme weather, that can be a big help to all animals, big and small. Talk to your local green thumb or visit a library to find out what species and varieties will be most helpful to insects, birds, reptiles, mammals… and whomever else stops by!
- Give them some space. Animals running from forest fires can be exhausted. Hungry and tired animals in a drought or heat wave could be desperate for some shade. If you see wildlife resting behind a shed, next to a deck, or anywhere else on your property – and there isn’t a concern of attractants or conflict – leave them be. Simply being safe for an hour or two, or even overnight, can be the energy boost individuals need to carry on.
You love the animals and want to help them because you’re a compassionate person. And even though they can’t say it, we can: thank you!