One trend we have been seeing is the increase of endangered and threatened populations making their way into the Wildlife Sanctuary. With 2014 marking 100 years since we lost the last Passenger Pigeon, wildlife enthusiasts are more aware of populations in decline now more than ever. The species on the WDNR endangered/threatened list for Wisconsin include Peregrine Falcons, Wood Turtles, Ornate Box Turtles, Big Brown Bats, Little Brown Bats, Great Egrets, Caspian Terns, and Common Terns.
So what can you do to help animals on the endangered/threatened species list?
When you are out hiking or enjoying the outdoors, keep an eye open for animals in distress—and keep WLS Animal Care’s phone number in your contact list! We can help you help wildlife, whether it is tips on if it needs help, animal control numbers, or other wildlife rehabbers that may be closer to you. Our number at BBWLS Animal Care is 920-391-3685.
Clean up when you are outside—fishing line, mouse traps, open containers of paint/sealant/glue/tar, paper towels from food, plastic wrap, corn bags from feeding corn can all pose a threat to wildlife. We’ve taken many yogurt containers off animals’ heads! Even throwing money in ponds can be a digestive hazard to waterfowl and other animals searching for food on the bottom of water sources.
Know your species—whether hiking or hunting, be aware of native species. Wildlife should never be taken as pets due to the difficulty of adjustment into captivity. One of our captive Peregrine Falcons was shot when his tan wings were seen as he flushed up during duck hunting season. He suffered a permanent wing injury, never flying again, but he was able to become an animal ambassador with BBWLS to help teach everyone about Peregrine Falcons. Keep wildlife wild!
Support local wildlife efforts to help restore habitats and to help wildlife become wild again– participate in cleaning shoreline or litter picks; remove invasive species in your yard; clean up fishing line and lures when fishing; recycle as much as possible; put up nest boxes in known habitats. One example is if we all use cloth grocery bags, we can dramatically reduce the plastic in our environment. Supporting BBWLS is a great way to support all these programs for the Northeast Wisconsin community whether through volunteering, donating, or participating in events like Walk for Wildlife, the Halloween Event, Wildlife Champions, and Frosty Family Fun Night!
Respect our wild neighbors– avoid turtles and snakes sunning themselves on the road; avoid capturing wildlife so they do not stress unnecessarily leading to injury or illness; let wild animals pass by instead of chasing or harassing them; know the laws and the time of year in regards to live trapping and relocating wildlife so young can be cared for and animals can make it into dens and hibernaculums before winter. Ask for help if you are unsure what to do with nuisance wildlife. It is important that in Northeast Wisconsin we recognize the need to live WITH wildlife to make not only our wild populations stronger, but also our community and human populations stronger!
Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature all around you—and watch for those endangered/threatened species so we can enjoy them for many years to come!