Many of you are probably asking one of two questions right now, what is Urban Wildlife? Is it the same thing as Pest Control? To the first question it is exactly what it sounds like: wildlife that can be found in urban or city areas.
For the second question, personally I would say n o. Pest control deals with wildlife that has become a nuisance or a pest. In this instance we often think of raccoons or feral cats. Yet working with urban wildlife is completely different.
As a child I thought that I never really encountered wildlife unless I was outside of the city. As I grew older I figured out that I had encountered wildlife everyday of my life.
Animals that we consider to be staples of city life, yet were never meant to live here. They have just adapted to this life because it provides them with more protection than there natural habitats, and, more importantly for them, food. Some examples are squirrels, pigeons, and water fowl.
Squirrels originally lived in the trees of forests. Hiding from owls, hawks, and other birds of prey that would make meals out of them.
The pigeons that we see are descended from birds called Rock Doves, and are originally from the Middle East. While the geese, swans and ducks that we see in our parks have found that they are protected from their natural predators at the lakes inside our city parks.
More than that, we habituate them towards humans by giving them food and keeping them safe.
When these animals become a problem the first person you call is Pest Control. What many people don't realize is that over the last few years more and even bigger wildlife have started to make their way into the city. Just yesterday I read an article from Fort Worth, Texas that asked residents to be on the look out for an escaped Barn Owl. What was interesting was that they also mentioned that Barn Owls are found in that city, and if anything are common.
Back in January there was a story about a one year old in Britain that had a finger bitten off, in her parents back yard, by a Fox. A few years ago I can even remember reading an article on two coyote bodies found inside the Perimeter of Atlanta, Georgia. They were killed by cars, but what was scary was that one was found near an Elementary school in Midtown.
Then you have those places that have become synonymous with wildlife and people come from all over the world to see them. How many stories have you read of motorists stopping to let duck cross the road? Being helped by security to get onto the White House lawn?
Anyone hear of the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas?
The fact is that in this day in age, many more wildlife are finding ways to live in the city with us. They are changing there habits to not only live with us, but also thrive. However, there are still many more problems that are going to need to be addressed. What happens when you hit a deer in the city and it kills another motorist? Are you still at fault? If you are attacked by a bird of prey do you get compensated by the city? Should it even be legal to feed deer or other wildlife inside a city limit?
There are so many questions that we just do not have the answers to and soon people are going to be demanding these answers. This is Urban Wildlife and this is the field that I want to go into. I want to find these answers that people will need and then work with them to understand not only how the animal works, but also why the animals are the way they are. Finally I want to be able to help you still enjoy the wildlife that is all around you, just being a little safer.