Nature is having a tough time surviving in this 21st century. With new development claiming virgin forests, untamed wilderness and spectacular scenery, the wild life are being pushed out of their natural habitats and forced to invade urban and rural areas for their survival.
I use to work in a hospital outside the city limits. The acute care hospital was built on a piece of cleared wilderness. It was a strategic location for highway or industrial accidents happening north of Victoria. It was also a great dumping ground for pet rabbits that no longer were cute after Easter came and went. The few existing wild rabbits were no doubt rapturous at meeting such an abundance of eligible bunnies. The rabbits did what rabbits do when meeting their soulmates. It didn't take long to notice hundreds and hundreds of cute bunnies hopping, nibbling and doing what rabbits do, literally covering the massive grounds above and tunneling beneath. It was a wonder the hospital foundation didn't sink due to all the hundreds of tunnels proliferating underground!
There were occasional sightings of cougars venturing down the highway and crossing into city limits. These big wild "cats" were searching for food. It seemed ironic they had missed the best feeding grounds en route to the city. It may have seemed cruel that the plump furry bunnies could be some cougar's dinner, but this would have been Nature's way of culling the rabbit population. The rabbit problem had a "cop-out" solution after months of agonizing debates and discussions. Volunteers raised the necessary funds and labour to humanely capture thousands of rabbits, that were shipped to a rabbit retreat somewhere in Texas. The few escapees found their way to the University of Victoria's undeveloped and wooded areas where they happily do what rabbits do, creating the same problem in a different location.
Moving back to a house, my husband and I were amazed to see our first deer stroll casually past our front yard. Initially, it was a novelty to be so close to something wild, yet not so wild as it ventured into several yards to nibble at the roses, azaleas and daisies. I'm talking about an established and developed neighbourhood that is well within the city limits. In the past four years since we've moved here, the deer problem has become very real and very serious.
Like the rabbits, there have been numerous committees, discussions and debates on finding a solution to the deer problem. For every person against shooting or trapping the deer, there is someone vehemently for. At the moment the deer have been left alone. This is not as humane as it seems for these beautiful animals are literally starving from human kindness. If they were left to survive in the wilderness, it would be by survival of the fittest. Left to survive in urban surroundings, there is not enough food to sustain these animals and their constantly expanding families. The deer are becoming aggressive and extremely territorial if anyone crosses their path. It would be an ideal solution to capture and release these beautiful animals back to the wilderness, but nothing is simple when dealing with Nature. Again, there have been cougar sightings but these clever wild "cats" are not very clever spotting a deer. So far, a few cougars have been shot if they venture anywhere near or within city limits.
A decade ago, the city belonged to humans. It was a rare sight to see any wild animals strolling through the neighbourhood. Today, deer, rabbits, even squirrels and raccoons are a common sight. Provincial campsites share a bear problem because these animals are also in search of food, since humans are driving them out of their natural habitats.
It really makes you reconsider that house with the spectacular view and the woodsy backyard. Which of Nature's creatures was evicted from their wilderness home to give you yours?