Tips on dealing with wildlife in your community

This week is ‘Be Kind to Animals Week’ in Canada, and lately there’s been a lot of buzz about animals in Calgary communities, specifically wildlife. Many of Calgary’s communities are blessed to have the presence of wildlife, especially the suburbs, but do you know the bylaws regarding wildlife or how to deal with it?

Here’s some crucial tips on dealing with wildlife in your community:

  • Don’t feed the wildlife! A huge concern in some Calgary communities right now is the spiking rabbit populations due to the number of residents leaving food out for them. What you should know, is that feeding wildlife is actually against City bylaws and people caught doing it can be ticketed. But even more serious, it can lead to bigger problems in your community.

We can have bunnies gathering in large groups and if there’s no one to feed them then they’ll move on to other food sources like people’s gardens or vegetation in our parks. The multiplying urban rabbits also attracts predators, like coyotes and hawks. Hope says keeping the number of bunnies down will help keep coyotes out of the inner city. [CBC Calgary]

  • Keep a safe distance: wildlife is after all, wild, and that means unpredictable. When you see wildlife, it’s best to keep a safe distance away and never try to approach them.
  • If you see a coyote: these are common animals in suburb communities, so keep your dog leashed at all times. If you spot a coyote, pick up small children or small dogs. If you’re in a remote area and one is spotted, you should leave the area. For more information on coyotes, call the City of Calgary Coyote Hotline at 403-297-7789.
  • If you see a deer/fawn: again, never approach a deer or try to feed it. Fawns are usually spotted in June and people often try to approach fawns that are alone or seem injured, do not do this as they are never really alone. This is a defence mechanism against predators. If deer are injured and not mobile (for example they are laying down), call Alberta Fish and Wildlife at 403-297-6423 or 1-800-642-3800.
  • If you see a porcupine: despite myth, porcupines never actually shoot quills, they need to touch their target in order to sting. Because of this, simply avoid them if you see them and keep your dogs away.
  • Skunks: these are mostly harmless and just a nuisance if you have pets, in dealing with the odour if they are sprayed. If they are not provoked, they are not an issue. You can call your local pest control if you’re worried about skunks in your neighbourhood.
  • Beavers: these critters play a very important role in our waterways and ecosystem, the City does their own monitoring, but would love to know if you spot any beavers. Call 311 if you see one.
  • Bears, cougars and moose: these large animals sometimes wander into our city and can pose a public safety risk. If bears, cougars or moose are spotted within Calgary, please call 911.

More information about wildlife in Calgary and the City’s monitoring system, can be found online here.