Last Updated: May 2016
Ontario is and has been facing human wildlife conflict. Constantly, wildlife are breaking into people’s property resulting in wildlife being mistreated treated by humans. From our experience, it is very sad to see what some people are capable of doing to animals, but fortunately there are still a large population of people who respect wildlife and promote humane treatment.
Wildlife, like raccoon’s, squirrels, skunks, and opossums all exist in Toronto, bringing a little bit of nature to the hustle and bustle of the city. With food readily accessible in trash bins and gardens plus the disruption of their natural habitat, we can hardly blame them for helping themselves as they adapt to an urban lifestyle. Toronto has become overpopulated with wildlife in the city as there is no natural predators to keep a balance which the reason for a human-wildlife conflict. So why are these animals not being killed to resolve the human-wildlife conflict? Why are these pests removed from our homes and released a mile away?
We believe and support in humane solutions and so do Ontario legislation. Ontario has strong animal welfare legislation, enforcing strong laws and tough penalties. In Ontario it is an offence to cause or permit distress to an animal.
“Our goal is to ensure that Ontario’s animals are protected and treated in the humane manner that our society expects”
Ministry of Natural Resources, 2015.
According to Ontario rules and regulations, to even own a trap that can catch anything bigger than a rat is illegal. Any device big enough to kill a raccoon or the use of poisons to kill these wild animals could also end up injuring someone else including pets. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) recommends hiring a licensed professional to trap and remove the animal.
Trapping is a common practice of urban wildlife management in Toronto, but the most effective way of controlling nuisance wildlife like raccoon’s, skunks, mice, rats, or squirrels is prevention. Preventing wildlife from entering your home can be much more effective than live trapping.
Toronto Human Wildlife Conflict
The large population of wildlife in Toronto can be associated with the introduction of the green bins a few years ago. The green bins provided the animals with a one stop shop for food which seems to have correlated with the increase in wildlife population.
To tackle this problem the government are providing Toronto residence with the next generation green bin which is larger, more sturdy and has improved animal resistance features. You can see the new bin below and the size difference in comparison to the older green bin. We should see this bins fully introduced later this year / early 2016.
Below is a video of the new green bins put to the test with raccoon’s. I have to be honest when these bins were first introduced I was very skeptical as raccoon’s are very intelligent. I guess they will have to be put to the test so we can find out!
Although this is a humane step the City of Toronto has taken to tackle the city’s wildlife problem, this alone is not enough to deal with Toronto’s wildlife problem. Recent talks by the City have further recommended “human behavioral contributors to urban wildlife issues.” to help mitigate the wildlife conflict. This still has to get approval from the full council and it will be about addressing the human behavior to urban wildlife issues rather than implement programs that attempt to control wildlife populations.
You can read the agenda for mitigating human wildlife conflict in Toronto here.
Educating people on their behavior is a great step in learning how to deal with human-wildlife conflict. This humane response would involve compassion and respect and preclude cruelty and avoid suffering or injury to the animals. Educating the public to understanding the animals’ characteristics and needs and learn how to wildlife proof your home and property will help us take a non-lethal approach leading to a peaceful coexistence. 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.
The Fur-Bearer Defenders, an organization who promote co-existence with wildlife will be on Wits and Pieces on Rogers Television in Ontario tonight from 7 to 7:30 pm! They will be discussing Toronto’s wildlife conflict, the City of Toronto’s plan for managing this conflict, and answering any questions viewers may have. Please watch and get involved as everyone’s views and opinions may help resolve this issue!