[NAFEX] Steve's wildlife relocation comments

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat Sep 5 07:55:34 EDT 2009


The danger of where Steve is taking this discussion is that some might think
how wildlife professionals deal with the relocation of bears justifies their
unprofessional relocation of common fruit pests like raccoons and
squirrels.  There is no relevance at all as far as moving pest animals to
new sites.

I have about an acre of bearing fruit trees on my property of 3 acres.  I
have had seasons where I've trapped as many as 30 raccoons which is simply
an obscene quantity from any ecological viewpoint.  These animals are like
outdoor rats (however beautiful you may find them) that thrive in the
presence of humans.  Pet food and garbage have increased their numbers and
human elimination of their predators has made any natural balancing
impossible- short of an occasional rabbi outbreak or other disease.

What is the justification for the relocation of such an animal other than to
spare someone the discomfort of having to kill it?  I often wonder how this
raccoon population must affect songbirds and other wildlife.  Raccoons are
well known bird nest raiders.

Speaking of birds, squirrels benefit from what I consider to be the ignorant
feeding of birds.  Feeders deliver the majority of grain to rodents beneath
them even if they are designed to deny rodents access.  The birds themselves
knock most of the grain off while feeding.  I often see well developed rat
tunnels beneath bird feeders.  In the west there will also be ground
squirrel tunnels.  Red and Grey squirrels will swarm to bird feeding sites
in winter when conditions would otherwise bring their populations down
(naturally).

It's interesting that the managers of these feeders (homeowners) are
probably demographically heavily slanted to putting a high priority on
environmental issues.  I believe that it is far superior for homeowners to
create a landscape that feeds birds in a more natural manner by establishing
plantings that nourish their birds.

I have a very difficult time controlling squirrels and protecting fruit on
sites where the homeowner maintains a bird feeder and in neighborhoods where
such feeders are common.

The point I'm making is that species whose populations are exploding due to
human intervention have no place to be relocated because adequate or
excessive populations of the animals already exist most anywhere you can
take them.  Only a wildlife expert would be aware if a given location would
benefit from the addition of any given animal.
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