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Urban Wildlife: Top 10 Questions

March 2011

Thanks to Adare Evans and Gregg Losinski, Conservation Educators, Idaho Department of Fish and Game for the answers.

1: What would happen if an animal, like a bear, came into our house looking for food?

If an animal, like a bear, comes into your house, you really need to leave the house and call Fish and Game. If they are not available, call the sheriff's office in town. Leave the area no matter the size of the animal. Do not try to handle it yourself. Call the experts for help. (From Trinity in Mrs. McCoy's class at Donnelly Elementary School in Donnelly)

2: How do wild things survive in urban areas without their usual surroundings?

A lot of times they don't and that's why we don't encourage them to be there. Once they are around humans, there are all kinds of things that they are not used to. This can catch them off-guard and cause them to become injured or potentially feel threatened, causing them to lash out. Wildlife places are where wildlife belongs. (From Abby in Mrs. Hunt's class at Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise)

3: Should we leave out food for animals so they don't starve?

At Fish and Game, we try not to feed wild animals at all. The only time we might try to feed an animal, like deer or elk, is if we want to draw them away from an area. For example, if deer have started eating a farmer's crop, or a herd of elk have gotten very close to major crossroads, we may use food to draw them away from those areas. Animals are really smart and can usually find food on their own. (From Docker in Mrs. Woodall's class at Dalton Elementary School in Dalton Gardens)

4: Why are there so many geese in the city?

Certain species do really well around humans, and geese are one of those species. Town is a safe place for geese because their predators usually stay away. Also, people like to feed geese, even though they shouldn't, so the geese have a food source. The geese tell their friends about it and more and more come, increasing the population. (From Jack at Roosevelt Elementary School in Boise)

5: How long do animals stay in the city?

It depends on the animal and the time of year. In Boise, we have lots of deer that come down looking for food. When they come into town, sometimes mountain lions come too. In the winter, we might see more of them, but when the snow starts to melt, the animals head back into the woods or into the hills. (From Brooklyn in Mrs. Woodall's class at Dalton Elementary School in Dalton Gardens)

6: Why do animals get into our garage?

We have many neat things in our garages that animals may want to eat or nest in. Things that we may think are garbage or even yucky smelling can be very tempting to an animal. (From Dalton in Mrs. McCoy's class at Donnelly Elementary School in Donnelly)

7: Why are people allowed to keep wild animals as pets?

You should not keep a wild animal as a pet. Some people have special permits for having a wild animal, but in general, the public is not allowed to collect wildlife. (From Taylor in Mrs. Nicolescu's class at Riverside Elementary School in Boise)

8: What do you do if you see a lost animal?

The best thing to do is leave it alone. Often an animal can find its own way out of a city or town. If you get too close and the animal is sick or injured, this could become a dangerous situation. Leave the animal alone, but if it becomes a problem, you should call Fish and Game. They can lead you to the experts that can handle the problem. (From Nicky in Mrs. Woodall's class at Dalton Elementary School in Dalton Gardens)

9: Where do all the animals go when we build more and more homes and buildings in their habitat?

Some species will be able to adapt and they are able to live around humans. Some may be without the proper things that they need to live and they may die. And those that have the capability to migrate far away will do so. (From Madison in Mrs. Schweitzer's class at Riverside Elementary School in Boise)

10: How can we prevent animals from coming into our cities and towns?

The best things we can do to prevent this is to be careful and smart about what we leave out that may attract wild animals. We should not leave garbage or even barbecues out. Bird feeders are wonderful for attracting birds, but they can also attract other animals. You may need to change your bird feeder situation or the time of year you put it out if its attracting other animals. Try to think ahead about what and how you leave things out. (From Haley in Mrs. McCoy's class at Donnelly Elementary School in Donnelly)


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