Wildlife feeding by-law in Ingersoll would be a positive step in reducing conflict

The folks in Ingersoll, Ontario, love seeing squirrels, chipmunks, and even the occasional fox or coyote. But they still have their limits.

One resident, Jim Gonder, asked his local councillors to implement a feeding by-law after he reported that “105 squirrels have been relocated” as a result of feeding, the Ingersoll Times noted.

The article continued, “those concerned with the issue aren't against bird feeders, Gonder said, but open feeding and feed spillage is resulting in an unnatural increase in wildlife populations in Ingersoll, including squirrels, skunks, chipmunks, raccoons, moles, voles, possums and feral cats.”

Such feeding is often a precursor to conflict – be it with the smaller mammals listed by Gonder, which, in high numbers, can upset green spaces and gardens, or the larger predatory animals they attract, like foxes, coyotes, and birds of prey. It will also, as noted by one councilor, prevent a potential increase in vehicular collisions with the animals, and the potential calls for lethal control.

Opponents of such by-laws frequently cite responsible owners of bird feeders as a group of individuals who could be unfairly persecuted. But most by-laws are complaint based, and would warrant investigation, and therefore allow for some discretion. Since a simple, well-kept bird feeder isn’t going to cause problems with wildlife, it likely won’t be affected.

Ingersoll’s council has sent a request to their staff, requesting input on a potential by-law. The Fur-Bearers wholeheartedly support such an initiative and are willing to offer any assistance.

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