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Urban trapping

With urban expansion, many animals lose their natural habitats and find a new way of life in the city. Animals are quick to adapt to a new habitat and can easily find shelter in garages, sheds, chimneys, and in other easily accessible places that make good nesting places and even resemble the hollow trees and caves that naturally house these animals. In addition to these available shelters, food in the city is abundant. Litter, garbage cans and dumpsters, and composts are only a few of the many sources accessible to city-dwelling animals. It’s not surprising that they are happy to make their home in the city when their natural habitat is destroyed.

Each province/territory is responsible for wildlife management, including pest control. However, municipalities are responsible for trapping regulations within city limits. Many municipalities don’t have by-laws to outlaw or regulate trapping in city limits, and those that do often make exceptions for farmers, homeowners, and licensed trappers. As a result, some inhumane traps are set by individuals to control urban wildlife and some trappers set up traps in ravines and near parks. These traps cause severe suffering for both urban wildlife and companion animals, and pose a risk to young children.

Mice and rats are more commonly trapped because they are prolific breeders and at times it is the only way to control them and prevent overpopulation and the spread of disease. However, glue boards should not be used for mice and rats because they cause suffocation, dehydration, injury, and stress.

Although trapping is still used by provinces to control wildlife, it is usually limited to live-cage trapping, for diseased or severely injured animals, animals that are a threat to human health or safety, or when relocation is not possible.

Provinces have been moving away from trapping as a tactic for urban wildlife management because prevention has proven to be the most effective way of controlling animals in the city. Taking measures to prevent animals from entering your house or damaging your property can be much more effective than trapping, which ultimately allows more animals to move into the area. Prevention includes sealing garbage containers, and entrances to houses, sheds, and barns, including small holes and cracks where mice and other small rodents could potentially enter.

If you have a problem with an animal in your house, the first thing you should do is to lure the animal outside and then animal-proof your house so it cannot come back in. Make sure any potential housing areas or food sources are made inaccessible or unattractive. If an animal becomes a nuisance during birthing season, make sure you aren’t isolating a mother from her young, and if possible wait until this danger is over to animal-proof your house and yard.

Urban wildlife is an important element of the city life and it is important to appreciate the diversity of these animals. When they are prevented from being a nuisance, they can add an important aspect to living in the city.

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