National Wildlife Day is March 3rd. While we usually focus on writing about pets, we do want to recognize the connection between our animal companions and their wild counterparts. With so many species in decline, it’s important to help wildlife and ecosystems when we can. A veterinarian lists some simple ways you can do that in this article.
Did you know that cats hunt billions of small animals, such as birds and mice, every year? Fluffy may look adorably proud of herself when she drops a dead mouse at your feet, but your tiny lion is actually playing a role in decimating fragile wildlife populations. Keep your cat inside, and let her hunt catnip mice instead of real ones. (Bonus: kitties are safer indoors anyway.)
Exotic animals are becoming more and more popular as pets. It’s not hard to see why: many of them are very cute, charismatic, and fascinating. Many people also find it appealing to have an unusual pet. The main thing here is to just be responsible when adopting. Don’t get an animal without doing lots of research to make sure that you completely understand its care needs. Also, only buy from reputable stores or breeders. Unfortunately, there are still some black market sellers out there offering animals that were captured from the wild. This is bad for the pet and for the environment.
There are also things you can do on your own property to help local wildlife. If you have a yard, allow some native plants to grow back in part—or even all—of it. Plant colorful, fragrant flowers, which will help attract and sustain native bees. If you are in a colder climate, when spring arrives, don’t mow the lawn until the dandelions have passed. These bright flowers, considered a nuisance by many, are actually very beneficial, as they are the first food for bees, birds, and butterflies.
Use humane, non-toxic products to get rid of any mice, rats, or other critters you have. Sadly, many larger wild birds, such as owls, hawks, and falcons, are poisoned each year by hunting vermin that ingested toxic rodenticides.
Another thing you can do to help is just be more mindful of wildlife when you are shopping. Choose products that use only sustainable resources. When many people start making these small choices, small steps like these can really add up to big changes!
To learn more about World Wildlife Day, and how to help wild animals, click here .
As your local veterinary clinic, we’re here to help. Call us anytime!