"Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act."
Respect Local Wildlife
Respecting your local widlife can mean many different things. First, it's good to know what wildlife are our neighbors, and try to limit our impact on them. Here's some things we suggest:
1. Do NOT feed or water wildlife. These animals have survived thousands of years without humans putting out water and food dishes. In fact, certain local bobcats in the Santa Monicas are known to live their entire lives without perenial (year-round) water sources. We believe that these bobcats instead rely on their prey items to provide hydration.
When we feed and water wildlife, we alter the way the widlife interact with other animals and the interaction they have with the environment. For example, by creating a single place for wildlife to find food and thus attracting different species repeatedly to this site, they can increase interaction with other animals and spread disease. Additionally, by attracting them to a human provided water or food source, we habituate these animals to humans. As a result of this habituation, we can increase the "peskiness" (ie., coyotes) of certain species. Also, these wildlife will not play their usual ecological roles such as feeding on local fruits (and thus interfering with seed dispersal for these plants) or prey on their natural food items.
We have had complaints from many people that coyotes come to close to human habitation, particularly near Griffith Park and near the Hollywood Hills areas. We urge people to keep food and water dishes inside, and remove attractants for these species to hang out near residential areas. You might have a neighbor feeding wildlife, and this can create issues for an entire neighborhood!
2. If you see wildlife when out hiking, keep your distance! Sometimes we are lucky enough to encounter wildlife in their natural habitat. Enjoy them from a distance. A good rule of thumb is to stay 100 yards away from the wild animal. If people repeatedly try to get close to a wild animal, habituation to humans can occur. If the habituated animal is perceived as potentially dangerous (coyotes or bobcats), then habituation of the animal can eventually lead to a public outcry for the removal of the habituated animal.
3. Don't use poisons! There are no "safe" poisons available for rodent or gopher control around your home. As discussed on the 'Anticoagulants and Mange' page, many nontarget species are affected when we attempt to control a single "pest" species. You can do your part by starting sustainable practices in your own homes and not using rat poisons (see the 'Poisons' and 'Alternatives to Poisons' pages for more information, and visit www.hungryowl.org).