Garreth's Wildlife Watch

Our Role in Responsible Development:

(2013-06-11) In Prince Edward Island's modern and mechanized culture, the majority of our population now focuses on life in our small cities and new sprawling suburban developments. Change has come quite quickly to our gentle isle, where there was once multiple small family farms, we now generally see large open fields tended by computerized farm equipment, owned by agricultural corporations. This has led to the general populace not having a strong connective feeling with the land they inhabit.

As our expanding suburbs push closer and closer into what was traditionally wildlife habitat, new home owners are experiencing more regular encounters with the Island's wild animals. Raccoons or foxes in the shed are nothing new to Islanders, and if these are unwanted inhabitants, the Fish and Wildlife Division are quite skilled at safely removing and relocating these creatures. Although these situations may just seem like an inconvenience to home owners, it is critical to remember that we are moving into their territory and wildlife has just as much of a right to life on this island as we humans. Fortunately, most home owners are realizing this fact and the old mentality of wildlife needing to be quickly disposed of is falling out of favour.

Prince Edward Island is in an extremely rare situation in Canada in the fact that we do not have vast tracts of uninhabited land to expand into. As we continue with housing and infrastructural developments, we must keep in mind that our natural areas are already under great pressure and co-existing with wildlife populations is key to maintaining a healthy level of biodiversity in our beautiful province. We have already seen such magnificent creatures as woodland caribou, wolves, black bears and walruses disappear from our island forever, due to the fact that we did not have enough foresight to stop over harvesting these provincial treasures. I believe we cannot afford to lose any more of our native wildlife species and if we do, our grandchildren's generation may never forgive us.

About the Author

Garreth Ashley recently graduated from the Wildlife Conservation Technology program at Holland College and is returning to University in the fall. He is a current employee and also a former Board Member of Kensington North. His blog, Wildlife Watch, is a collection of his own observations of wildlife on PEI.

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