Chestermere and surrounding Alberta towns and cities have developed rapidly and many urban areas have expanded into what was, until recently, natural wildlife habitat.
Having wildlife in the city can have many benefits. Carnivores, such as coyotes, hawks and foxes, prey on abundant rodent species like mice. Bats and skunks feed heavily on insects.
However, wildlife in urban areas can also present a hazard. Permanently removing these species from urban areas is not possible as removing these animals only leaves vacancies which other animals can fill.
Below are a few tips for co-existing with wildlife in our community:
Tips and Precautions:
- Never feed wildlife. Wildlife feeding on food from people and human-use areas not only prevents wildlife from getting nutrition from natural food sources, but it teaches wildlife to associate people with food. This can lead to problematic, even dangerous, situations that may result in human injury/conflict.
- Never approach wildlife. Over time wildlife can become accustomed to people, which may increase the risk of negative human-wildlife encounters. Always respect the "personal space" of wildlife. Certain animals such as bats, skunks and foxes can carry rabies.
- Keeping your dog on a leash. Even well-trained dogs cannot fight their instinct to bark and chase. This can stress wildlife and cause them to dart into traffic or lead to other unsafe situations such as a defensive attack.
- Keep your cats indoors. Cats allowed to roam make easy prey for coyotes and foxes. Coyotes and foxes that learn easy prey can be found in a neighborhood will return to that same area in the future. This may create potential new problems for the community.
- Keep garbage and waste secure. Make sure your garbage containers are in good condition. Household waste appeals to wildlife as a source of easy meals.
- Remove food/attractants from property. Human food sources may make up 30 per cent of a coyote’s diet. Be sure to clean your yard of all garbage, pet foods, bird seed, fallen fruit and berries.
- Drive carefully. Slow down when driving near parks, the lake or the golf course and other open spaces. Safe driving habits lessens the likelihood of collisions with wildlife.
- Teach your children about wildlife in Chestermere. Children should be taught to make safe decisions and respect wildlife. They should never feed or approach wildlife, should keep their pets leashed and supervised and should back away slowly when they see coyotes or foxes.
For situations involving aggressive wildlife encounters, phone Report-A-Poacher at (800) 642-3800.
For more information or wildlife concerns please contact.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife Calgary and Area (403) 297-7789
Chestermere Protective Services (403) 207-7058