SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia’s suburban and urban environments advancements, has made way for human interactions with a variety of wildlife species for years, even without humans knowing it.
“More people have doorbell cameras or outdoor security cameras, which makes it appear like we have more wildlife in our neighborhoods. When really, they’ve been there the whole time and we’re just starting to notice.” said Kaitlin Goode, Urban Wildlife Program Manager and Game Management.
Although some interactions, like enjoying birds at a birdfeeder, can be positive, some can also be negative and can cause conflicts. Common conflict species in Georgia are alligators, bats, bears, beavers, Canada Geese, coyotes, deer, feral hogs, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, woodpeckers and vultures. Conflicts with these species can cause injuries to them and humans.
“When we have injuries, most are not serious and are related to either the animal being sick or having been fed by people. Serious injuries from wildlife are extremely rare. It’s important to not directly interact with wildlife, either by getting too close or intentionally feeding wildlife, for your safety and theirs.” said Goode.
Most of these conflicts can be easily resolved or prevented by taking a few simple steps to eliminate attractants like food, water and shelter.
“The best thing to do is remove human-provided food attractants in your backyard, like pet food or garbage. Allowing wildlife easy access to human-provided food sources can increase the amount of conflict that happens in neighborhoods and decrease wildlife’s natural fear of people.” said Goode.
Common food attractants can attract raccoons, coyotes, foxes, bears and rodents.
Water is also an attractant that stems from pet water bowls, ponds and pools. They can attract raccoons, coyotes, foxes, bears and waterfowl.
Common shelter attractants are downed brush, leaf litter and pine straw, which can all attract rodents and snakes.
If the attractant cannot be easily removed, then an exclusion method of placing netting or fencing around the area could work. Once the attractant has been removed or excluded, give wildlife time to figure out that food, water, or shelter source is no longer available, typically one to two weeks.