By now, most of us are aware that we have long been encroaching on wildlife territory with our insatiable need for more and more housing. While regrettable, this proximity causes some in the community to take the ill-conceived notion that wildlife must be hungry and so regularly feed them.
This act of so-called kindness is both wrong-headed and illegal. Local wildlife, in the form of raccoons, coyotes and rabbits are not desperately hungry, thanks to the likes of discarded cats – now called “strays” – that live in our Bell Park area and some silly residents, who leave out food daily because “raccoons are so cute and friendly.”
But beware. They are friendly until they are not.
Walking our dog, we see raccoons almost daily – in yards, alleys, even crossing major streets and avenues. We now have perennial raccoons’ nests in our coniferous trees that deposit mom and her litter on the driveway at lunch time, growling at our dogs and us and possibly on the hunt for our defenseless cat.
Nocturnal animals? Not anymore, especially with food being provided to them most days, there is no real need to hunt at night.
Coyotes must have heard how raccoons thrive here and are joining in on the smorgasbord. I have recently seen two coyotes, just strolling around our residential neighbourhood in broad daylight.
This is becoming a bigger problem every year, as wildlife does not yet practise birth control.
They’ve lost their fear of humans and venture into yards where small kids, small dogs and cats are playing.
Some neighbours report they cannot leave either children or pets in their backyards anymore without constant supervision.
And pity the poor domestic cats who love to be out in the sun, too, but may face an early death, ripped apart by a friendly mother raccoon. Not a nice picture.
If anyone thinks the City of Surrey, animal control, SPCA or RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) will tackle this growing problem, no such luck.
Just ask, as I did. We’re on our own here and the wildlife will probably continue to be fed by these rather ill-informed and insensitive raccoon “fans.”
The growing population of wildlife will only worsen unless our municipal or provincial entities actually decide to do something, pro-actively.
Big chance of that, but one never knows when one of our politicians might also find themselves living in an area where wildlife and food enablers are becoming a problem.
Madelon Keij, South Surrey