Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27

Lisa Zins

KEEPING WILDLIFE WILD

Raccoons, according to John Griffin of the Humane Society of the United States, are in our towns
and neighborhoods, and are going to become "increasingly common."

with abundant vegetation are luring them in, or that reforestation
of former farmlands is providing
the perfect place for them to thrive.
Fueling the news-and the drama-of sightings is social media,
which instantaneously allows us to
share photos and OMG moments.
For Chuck Waters, game management region supervisor at the
Georgia Department of Natural
Resources Wildlife Resources Division, "It all boils down to the fact
that there are a lot more of us than
there used to be-a lot more houses, a lot more suburbia, more vacation homes and rental cabins in
the mountains. That fox, I promise
you, is not coming around your
house because it enjoys your company. It's looking for food, water or
shelter. Don't make it more complicated than it is."
Coincidentally, the landscapes
we often create to beautify our
homes-ponds, gardens, bird sanc-

tuaries-are also magnets for medium-size, foraging mammals that
don't need large territories to roam.
As we continue to urbanize more
land, says John Griffin, director
of urban wildlife for The Humane
Society of the United States, "the
critters are just following us where
we go. Animals that may have been
originally displaced do seem to find
habitat, however marginal it might
seem to us, in and around our cities, our towns and our neighborhoods."
Adds Griffin, who lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland, "I know people
who've lived in those communities
for 30 years and say, 'I've never seen
a raccoon.' Well, you haven't been
looking. They're there, and typically in higher numbers than they
are in more rural or natural settings
because of the food and the denning sites that are available. ... It's
common, and it's going to become
increasingly common."

Concerned about wild animals in
your neighborhood? Conservation
experts offer these tips:
* Ask yourself: Is this animal just
passing through? Or am I doing
something to attract it?
* Consider bringing your bird
feeders inside between April and
September. Bears and other large
mammals love birdseed and suet.
* At night, set your car alarm to go
off if a bear gets too close or you
think you might need to retrieve
something from your vehicle after
dark. If you spot one, bang pots and
pans and let the dogs bark.
* Plant shrubs and flowers that deer
don't find tasty. Suggestions are
listed on many wildlife websites.
* Don't leave dog or cat food outside,
especially at night. "If you put out
something to eat, something's
gonna eat it," says Chuck Waters,
game management region supervisor for the Georgia Dept. of Natural
Resources Wildlife Resources
Division.
* Put a tight lid on your garbage can
and wait till morning to set it out for
pickup.
* Cover open spaces beneath
porches and outbuildings with
latticework to keep critters from
hiding there.
* Deal with sick or problem animals
by calling your state wildlife agency
and don't worry about the rest.
"There are foxes out there, and coyotes, and they're gonna be there,"
says Waters. "Trying to take all the
coyotes off the landscape is not a
realistic goal."
* Use common sense. "I've heard so
many people call me and say, 'Bears
tore down my bird feeder last night,
and I went and bought another one
and put it up and the bears tore that
one down too,'" says Jaime Sajecki,
black bear project leader for the
Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland
Fisheries. "That's sort of the definition of crazy: doing the same thing
over and over again, and expecting
a different outcome." -NH

November/December 2016 27



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 41
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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