The BC SPCA is declaring April Wildlife Awareness month and is urging the public to become proactive in helping protect and appreciate the diversity of species with which we share the planet. Every year the BC SPCA cares for more than 2,000 injured and orphaned wild animals, most of whom have been harmed in some kind of interaction with humans. Why wait until Earth Day on April 22th? Here are ten ways you can help wildlife all year round:
1. Boycott helium balloon releases. Released, deflated balloons – latex and mylar – often drift into waterways where seabirds, turtles and whales mistake them for food causing blockages resulting in slow, agonizing deaths.
2. Beware of wild homes. Respect wildlife and allow them to thrive without disturbing them. For example, keep dogs on leashes near waterways where ground nesting birds are incubating eggs and don’t remove trees or shrubbery during spring nesting season.
3. Don’t litter. It sounds obvious, but discarded trash like glass, cigarettes, lighters and bottle caps kills wildlife.
4. Plant habitat. Plant a diverse selection of native vegetation to support butterflies, bees, song birds and mammals.
5. Keep cats indoors or create a screened outdoor cat enclosure. Outdoor cats kill thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles every year. Spring is when baby birds are most vulnerable to cat predation.
6. Eat less meat or buy SPCA Certified products. Eating less meat helps reduce, for example, the global destruction of rainforests for cattle production. Choosing locally raised SPCA Certified products is your assurance that animals are raised to a high welfare standard.
7. Don’t buy products made from wildlife parts. Shoes, purses, wallets and clothing are often made from the skins or parts of either “farmed wildlife” or from animals taken from the wild.
8. Support sustainable seafood products. Avoid eating fish and seafood which come from vulnerable habitats, practices which have lethal impacts on other species or whose populations are at risk from poor management. Look online for seafood guides.
9. Say no to exotic pets. Don’t support the keeping of wild animals as pets – snakes, frogs, parrots, sugar gliders and turtles are all examples of wild animals deserving to be left in their native habitats.
10. Pledge financial support for Wild ARC. Wild ARC (wildarc.com) is the BC SPCA’s wildlife rehabilitation centre in Metchosin on Vancouver Island. Wild ARC cares nearly than 2,000 injured and orphaned wild animals every year.
For more details, visit spca.bc.ca.
– By Lori Chortyk