No matter where we are in the world, we share the planet with wildlife.
You may only see squirrels or birds when you take the dog out or head to the office, but these creatures are still classed as wildlife. Some listeners will regularly encounter raccoons, coyotes, bears, snakes, monkeys, jackals, possums, and more.
In this episode of The Animal Guide for Curious Humans, host Maureen Armstrong talks with Meg Toom, principal of Serratus Wildlife Services in British Columbia, Canada. Meg specializes in human-wildlife conflict mitigation. She works with communities and governments to develop strategies to reduce negative human-wildlife encounters. This can involve education and outreach programs as well as the creation of policies and bylaws that help keep both humans and animals safe. Meg is also an avid outdoors person.
Meg’s passion for this work grew out of tragedy when, in 2004, 27 bears were killed as part of a bear conflict management program in the community in which she lived. Right then, she decided to become part of a volunteer program to build awareness around animal care and wildlife, a step that led her to work full-time in this field.
Education is the key to preventing wildlife-human conflict. Humans attract wildlife into urban areas, but typically, it’s wildlife that pay with their lives.
Urban sprawl and our interest in recreating in nature mean encounters with wildlife are on the rise. How can we make those encounters positive interactions rather than harmful conflicts?
In this episode we explore certain species of wildlife common in North America, the types of interactions that occur, and how to avoid conflict with them. Particular emphasis is placed on black and grizzly bears
What about wolves?
In our next episode, Maureen continues the conversation with Meg to explore wolves - a particularly important subject for our listeners in Western Canada and the American Northwest - before moving on to discuss a framework for wildlife conflict prevention that can be applied wherever you live in the world and no matter what species of wildlife you are likely to encounter. Please join us for it.
Episode Links and resources: