Although Canada Day is exciting for us, it can be very stressful for wildlife and other animals like pets and livestock. Bright lights, loud noises, and crowds of people can be panic-inducing and disorienting, and even send some animals into shock.
As you gear up for a fun-filled Canada Day, it’s important to be mindful of our local wildlife. Many of our favourite celebratory activities can have negative effects on pets and wildlife, but there are lots of things we can do to minimize harm to wildlife and still have a great time.
Here are some ways to help keep wildlife safe this Canada Day:
Forego the fireworks for safer alternatives. Fireworks have been shown to have detrimental effects on wildlife and other animals. Besides the light and noise, fireworks also cause air pollution like smoke and heavy metals and release residues that animals can ingest or get caught in.
Consider celebrating with cake sparklers or confetti made from hole-punched leaves instead. If you have to set off fireworks, opt for silent or nitrogen-based ones and ensure that no trees are nearby and any bird feeders and bird baths are removed from the area.
Drive safely and keep an eye out on the road. Wildlife can get stressed and disoriented from the loud noise and bright lights of Canada Day, making them more likely to wander on roads or in front of vehicles. Wildlife collisions tend to increase on celebratory days, so be extra cautious when driving and take your time getting home.
Contact WildNorth if you see any injured wildlife or abnormal behaviour. Wildlife rehabilitators report more injuries and other problems during celebrations - wildlife are more likely to get tangled in fences, run onto roads, abandon their nests or babies, or fly into trees or buildings. If you suspect an animal might have an injury or witness any odd behaviour, call your local wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.
Clean up and minimize debris. Canada Day often means more garbage and debris lying around. This is not only bad for our environment, but it can harm wildlife if they ingest or get caught in it.
Be tolerant. If an animal makes its way into your backyard tonight, consider leaving them be. With loud noises, bright lights, and lots of people, many animals are seeking a place of refuge until the commotion is over.
Keep your pets indoors. Not only is this safer for your pet, but keeping your pets inside (or keeping a close eye on them when they are not) can minimize conflicts and keep wildlife safe. This is especially important for cats who can easily prey on disoriented and vulnerable birds.
Happy Canada Day from all of us at EALT!