adventures in wildlife management

Alas, more springtime heartbreak is upon us:

The other day Neil and I set traps for the rat that’s been enjoying the bird-feeder scatterings in our front yard. He sits demurely under the fence watching us with bright black eyes, his delicate paws shelling one sunflower seed at a time. Back in undergrad, Neil adopted a rat from the Psychology lab and named her Antigone. But this guy? We want him dead.

 

 

Meanwhile, a very disoriented baby raccoon sits in a box on our lawn.Β  Animal Services told us his mother will rescue him when it’s dark, but we are fretting.Β  We’ve given him a towel, a dish of water and a handful of dog food. We can’t seem to stop peeking in and stroking his fur. Shouldn’t we take him in and feed him warm milk?

I am suffering from a common urban malaise: Wildlife Cognitive Dissonance.

At least I’m not suffering alone. Yesterday we visited Tommy Thompson Park, a waterfront land-reclamation project featuring impressive habitat design and many wildlife research stations. But our shuttle bus driver complained that the all you can catch in the Cell One Wetland Basin is carp, and all the trees on Peninsula A have been denuded by cormorants (the nesting-grounds landscape is pretty bleak thanks to this invasive species: check out the live webcam).

Meanwhile, check out the chain-link fences along the road. These purpose-built portals occur every fifty meters or so, to facilitate animal crossing! It may be an uneasy coexistence, but at least we’re trying.

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