Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

10 ways to help wildlife during April's Wildlife Awareness month

 April 5, 2013

The BC SPCA is declaring April Wildlife Awareness month and urging the public to become proactive in helping protect and appreciate the diversity of species with which we share the planet. 

“Humans are increasingly encroaching on wild areas creating progressively more human-animal conflicts,” says Craig Naherniak, BC SPCA general manager, humane education. “Most often wildlife lose and this means, in the long term, we all lose since we co-depend on a healthy, vibrant ecosystem.”

Why wait until Earth Day on April 22? Here are ten ways you can help wildlife throughout the entire month of April (and the rest of the year):

  1. Boycott helium balloon releases. Give thought to where your balloons will end up once released. Deflating balloons – latex and mylar – often drift into waterways where seabirds, turtles and whales mistake them for food causing blockages resulting in slow, agonizing deaths.

  2. Beware of wild homes. Respect wildlife and allow them to thrive without disturbing them. This means thinking twice when encroaching on habitat areas particularly in the spring when birds are nesting and mammals are still with their young.  For example, keep dogs on leashes near waterways where ground nesting birds are incubating eggs and don’t remove trees or shrubbery during nesting season. 

  3. Don’t litter. It sounds obvious, but discarded trash kills wildlife. Animals get cut by glass or trapped in containers; marine animals inadvertently ingest cigarette butts, bottle caps, even colourful lighters; and birds get tangled in six-pack holders and balloon strings. Discarded food or fruit (e.g., apple cores) from vehicles virtually condemns wild animals to death as they risk vehicle strikes to feast on the roadside attractions.  Lastly, rinse your cans and bottles before putting them out for recycling to avoid attracting wildlife.

  4. Plant habitat.  Plant a diverse selection of native vegetation to support butterflies, bees, song birds and mammals. Migratory birds, for example, require high energy foods such as berries, seeds and nectar to sustain their extensive annual migrations of thousands of kilometres each year.

  5. Keep cats indoors or create a screened outdoor cat enclosure. Marauding outdoor cats indiscriminately kill thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles every year.  Spring is when baby birds are most vulnerable to cat predation. Consider purchasing a cat bib, a special device worn around a cat’s neck, which virtually eliminates cat predation but still allows a cat to enjoy outdoor access.

  6. Eat less meat or buy SPCA Certified products. Eating less meat helps reduce, for example, the global destruction of rainforests for cattle production. Choosing locally raised SPCA Certified products is your assurance that animals are raised to a high welfare standard. 

  7. Don’t buy products made from wildlife parts. Shoes, purses, wallets and clothing are often made from the skins or parts of either “farmed wildlife” or from animals taken from the wild. When on holidays avoid shell and starfish trinkets or other animal souvenirs. Their purchase removes natural items from the ecosystem and encourages the frivolous harvesting of creatures just for our vanity – take pictures of wildlife instead! 

  8. Support sustainable seafood products. Avoid eating fish and seafood which come from vulnerable habitats, practices which have lethal impacts on other species or whose populations are at risk from poor management.  Look online for seafood guides.  

  9. Say no to exotic pets. Don’t support the keeping of wild animals as pets – snakes, frogs, parrots, sugar gliders and turtles are all examples of wild animals deserving to be left in their native habitats. Even if raised in captivity, exotic pets don’t make appropriate pets – especially for children.

  10. Pledge financial support for Wild ARC. Wild ARC is the BC SPCA’s wildlife rehabilitation centre in Metchosin on Vancouver Island. Wild ARC cares for over 2,000 injured and orphaned wild animals every year 80 per cent of whom have come in conflict with people. The centre runs exclusively on public donations – a gift of only $50, for example, will support the care of an abandoned baby robin. Make a gift online today or consider donating the following items, which can be dropped off at the BC SPCA Victoria shelter or at Wild ARC:

  • Baby food (no peas/meat), pecans, walnuts, unsalted peanuts (in shell), rice pablum, vanilla ensure, eggs, frozen berries, suet and suet baskets;
  • Liquid laundry soap, bleach, paper towels;
  • Printer paper, duct/masking/scotch tape, laminating paper, white board pens;
  • Small ceramic dishes, mirrors, small bird feeders, butterfly nets or kiddie pools.

No matter how small or seemingly insignificant your action may seem, if it helps wildlife by lowering their risk of becoming injured or killed than you will have made a difference. “Tell your neighbours, tell your friends: April is wildlife month – time to take action for wild animals,” says Naherniak.

The Monty Fund for Community Education and Outreach supports education, awareness, and advocacy programs for all animals including our wildlife neighbours. Your gift can help the BC SPCA continue to advocate on behalf of wild and exotic animals, provide educational resources to individuals and various levels of government to create meaningful change. Please donate today.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.











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