Living in Harmony With Wildlife
Did you know that animals are usually more scared of us than we are of them? It’s true! We cause our wild friends much more trouble than they cause us. Every day, humans invade their territory, destroy their homes, and break up their families. Just as you don’t want someone to hurt you, animals don’t want to be harmed, either.
Sometimes, animals enter our homes or gardens by accident or because they’re looking for food or protection. They need our help. Gently helping animals return to nature is easier than you might think. Follow these simple tips:
- Say no to plastic bags, bottles, and other single-use plastic items, and instead use canvas tote bags and reusable metal bottles. Cows, turtles, whales, and other animals ingest or get entangled in plastic waste. Recycle paper, metal, and glass whenever possible, and don’t litter.
- If a bird is trapped inside your house, turn off all indoor lights; close all curtains, blinds, or shutters; and open an outside door. The bird should fly towards the light outside. If the animal doesn’t leave, wait until it’s dark, then open a door, turn on an outside light, and turn off all lights in the house. The bird should fly out towards the light. This takes patience, but it usually works.
- If a bat enters your home, keep calm, get children and animal companions quietly out of the room, create an escape route by opening the doors and windows, and turn off all lights except a very dim one. Ensure that outdoor lights are also turned off. Have two people hold up and stretch out a large sheet to narrow the flight path and encourage the bat to leave if necessary. Alternatively, if possible, you may put a wide-mouthed open jar gently over the bat, slide a piece of cardboard slowly over the top, and then safely release the bat outside. Once the animal is out of the house, close the windows and doors. In case of an emergency in which a bat must be handled, handlers should always wear thick gloves and use a towel to gather up the animal gently. Bats are delicate, so extreme care must be taken not to hurt them.
- Monkeys’ jungle homes are being encroached upon and torn down, so they often go into cities looking for food. You can encourage them to go back to the jungle by ensuring that trash in your area is regularly picked up; keeping all trash around your building in tightly sealed, chew-proof containers; and eliminating access to the home by installing bars on windows or keeping windows closed.
- Like monkeys, leopards and other big cats are also struggling with reduced jungle space. If you spot a big cat in your area, don’t panic or try to take matters into your own hands. Go indoors, and call your state forest department.
- Before discarding them, tightly seal jars and cut apart any containers in which animals could get their heads or other body parts trapped. Rinse out tins, put sharp tops inside to prevent animals from injuring themselves on them, and flatten the open end of the tins.
- To keep mice and rats out of your home, seal holes and cracks and store all food in glass, metal, or ceramic containers. If you think you have an animal visitor, put peppermint oil–soaked cotton balls and rags throughout infested areas. (Rodents don’t like the smell.) If you must trap a rodent, use a humane live trap to catch the animal and then gently release him or her outside. Check the trap frequently so that animals don’t die from dehydration or starvation, and if the trap is plastic, make sure it has air holes.
- Most baby birds found on the ground are fledglings whose mom is usually nearby. See if you can spot the nest, and keep an eye out for the mom. If the baby is in harm’s way, such as on a road, gently wrap the bird in a towel and place him or her in the grass or in a safer area nearby. You can create a “nest” by nailing a small box filled with bedding material to a tree trunk, placing the bird inside, and watching to see whether that encourages the parent to return. The parent won’t reject baby birds humans have handled – that’s a myth. If none of this works and the baby needs help, contact PETA India or your local animal-protection group.
Share these easy tips with your family and friends so everyone you know can live in harmony with wildlife.