A few thoughts on ‘ugly’ animals and wildlife

Dear Editor,
The article headlined In Your Backyard by Melania Zaharopoulos
in the Health
&
amp; Earth section of the Dec. 14 edition was enjoyable and
informative, especially after the recent, well-publicized problems
concerning mountain lions and coyotes in our neighborhoods.
Dear Editor,

The article headlined In Your Backyard by Melania Zaharopoulos in the Health & Earth section of the Dec. 14 edition was enjoyable and informative, especially after the recent, well-publicized problems concerning mountain lions and coyotes in our neighborhoods.

I am happy that the article’s emphasis was on preventative measures: covering garbage cans, not feeding pets outside and keeping pets indoors at night, as well as blocking off homes’ ingress points for the smaller wild animals. These are humane measures that help to keep our wildlife wild and humans safe. But I have a couple of points to pick.

First, I believe that the recommendation to “throw things at them, hit them” in order to drive the wild animals away is potentially dangerous to both the person and the animal, as well as being inhumane. An animal that is close enough for you to hit may be close enough to attack you in self-defense. We should not be encouraging cruelty toward animals that are just trying to live and feed their young and don’t know that they are walking on “private property”. Better to keep them away, or spray them with water, or go ahead and try to scare them off by yelling at them.

Secondly, I do not consider carrion eaters “invariably ugly.” Carrion is defined as decaying dead animals, i.e., roadkill. Just a few of the local creatures that may find this a delicacy are crows, magpies and golden eagles, opossums, raccoons, badgers, coyotes and bobcats, none of which are “ugly.”

Call me prejudiced, but I consider even the most obvious carrion-eaters – turkey vultures – more interesting-looking than ugly, and in the sky, they are simply magnificent. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Colleen Grzan, Animal Coordinator WERC’Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, Morgan Hill

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