By SHEYENNE WALES
New York State has an abundance of natural beauty that makes it one of the most visited places in the country.
The Capital Region alone offers waterfalls, hiking trails, historic sites and other seasonal attractions. But none are as beautiful – and crucial – as our native wildlife.
While we’re used to seeing smaller wildlife and predators in our backyards – songbirds, rabbits and groundhogs, for example – there seems to be a recent increase in sightings of larger, rarer wildlife. A moose was spotted in Schenectady and Niskayuna in early May before being moved to the Adirondacks. Last year, a black bear was spotted roaming Schenectady.
Pet owners play a vital role in protecting wildlife. As animal lovers, our compassion should extend to wild and exotic animals that we don’t often encounter. It has been documented that billions of wild birds and mammals fall victim to domestic cats each year in the United States. Cat owners can combat this by keeping their cats indoors or building outdoor enclosures commonly known as “catios”.
Dogs can also be experts at locating baby animals separated from their parents. Walking your dog on a leash during known breeding seasons can prevent the potentially deadly result of finding unprotected young.
Practicing wildlife advocacy in the ways of your pet parents also has additional personal benefits.
Cats kept indoors are protected from other humans, predators, collisions with vehicles, exposure to disease, and poisons such as rodenticides. This careful approach can save you costly veterinary care and reduce the emotional toll that injured or lost pets can take on families. Again, the same goes for walking your dog on a leash.
The Animal Protective Foundation’s Director of Veterinary Medicine, Jackie Kucskar, DVM, says, “Keeping pets indoors or safely on a leash outdoors greatly reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. , such as being hit by a car, coming into contact with a poison or a toxic product. substance, and getting into altercations with other pets or wild animals, which could result in potentially costly veterinary treatment. Also, if your pet is not neutered, unwanted pregnancies could occur if your pet roams free. If pet owners who decide to keep their pets close are concerned about their pets’ activity levels and boredom, Dr. Kucskar recommends enriching activities to keep your furry friend entertained.
Why should pet owners defend wildlife? Because we all thrive when we have a balanced ecosystem. Birds play an essential role in dispersing seeds and in maintaining the diversity and growth of our forests. A single bat can eat 3,000 insects in a single night! That pesky opossum that got into your garbage last week then feasted on tick larvae by the thousands.
As habitat loss continues due to new neighborhoods and climate change continues to challenge the viability of some species, it is likely that we will see more wildlife in our Capital Region neighborhoods. . Animal lovers can do their part to keep their families and our environment healthier and safer.
Sheyenne Wales is an Animal Care and Client Specialist at the Animal Protective Foundation (APF). APF contributes Animal Chronicles articles and welcomes animal-related questions and stories about people and animals in our community. Visit animalprotective.org, follow us on social media @AnimalProtectiveFoundation or email us at [email protected]
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