Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pepper Spray, Shoot, Gas, Harass, Destroy. - Ask Questions Later

As just one more example of our incredible paranoia and irrational relationship with wildlife, there is this video making the rounds on YouTube and the national media:
A police officer using pepper spray on a defenseless baby squirrel the size of a hamster.
The excuse offered for this senseless act of ignorance and cruelty is that the officer thought the squirrel might have "rabies."
The infant squirrel was later found to be healthy and released back into the wild.
However, being so young and tiny, his chances for survival are exceedingly slim.
The baby probably fell out of a nest and was simply seeking food or its mother.
Putting aside the obvious bungling of this situation from beginning to end, it serves as a kind of metaphor for how we as humans are currently dealing with Canada geese.
Shoot, gas, harass or destroy first.  Ask questions later.
Surely, there needs to be a better way and surely we need to demand better from ourselves and our figures of authority.
What should have been done in the situation with the baby squirrel wandering on school grounds?
A wildlife expert or rehabber should have been called. The infant squirrel should have been safely captured (perhaps with a net) and when found to be healthy either returned to the nest and mother or sent to a wildlife rehabber to be cared for until old enough to be released.
Of course none of that happened.
Instead, over-reaction, paranoia and lunacy occurred and took over.
And all of those things are occurring now in terms of our plans and actions against Canada geese.
Denigrate, create fear and paranoia.  Shoot, round up and gas, harass, destroy offspring.
Ask questions later.
But, what are the questions likely to be years down the road from these ill conceived actions?
"What happened to all the geese who used to live on our ponds and lakes?"
"What do we do about the geese suddenly setting up house on our patio or in our swimming pool?"
Yes, there needs to be a better way. 
We need to learn about wildlife and how best to live peacefully and respectfully with it. --PCA

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