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Tag: wildlife

Don’t Steal Baby Fawns!

Helping or Hindering Wildlife: Understanding When Baby Deer Need Human Intervention

Now that it’s spring (READ: BABY SEASON!), well-meaning humans often assume that because a fawn is alone she must be an orphan, leading to numerous fawn “kidnappings” each year. In today’s episode, I share tips, guidance, stories, and advice on what to do if you see an “abandoned” baby fawn or an injured adult deer or any wild animal at all. Even if you don’t encounter these situations directly, it’s sooo helpful to know what to do so you can pass it along to your friends, family, and neighbors.

Good News for Animals and Nature (2022)

10 Reasons to be Hopeful for Animals and Nature

As another year comes to a close, I wanted to give you 10 reasons to be hopeful for animals and nature by focusing on some good news from 2022. Depending on what you focus on, you can find many reasons for despair or many reasons for hope, and I’m here to you some of the latter. (You can also listen to the Food for Thought podcast on the same topic.)

Make no mistake, however: optimism is not complacency.

Acknowledging victories provides an opportunity not only for well-deserved celebrations, but also for examining what tactics are working and what projects we may want to get involved in or support.

As I mention in my KQED Radio Editorial, I Am an Animal Advocate and I Have Hope,

My hope is not complacent; it’s provisional. It’s the difference between wanting things to change and taking action to facilitate that change.

And so, here are 10 Reasons to be hopeful for animals and nature — just from 2022 alone!

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: dogs and cats have legal protection in spain

1. Companion animals are no longer considered inanimate objects under Spanish law.

While it might be obvious to you and me that animals are sentient beings, this is not reflected in civil or criminal law in most places. While “livestock” animals are still considered property in many cities and countries throughout the world, more and more, dogs and cats are being given legal status that protects them in both criminal and civil cases. With the passage of this law in Spain, the welfare of dogs and cats must be considered in divorce proceedings, for example. They will no longer be able to be seized, abandoned, or separated from one of their human guardians in the case of a divorce or separation, without their wellbeing and welfare being taken into account.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: In Wyoming, miles of fencing are being removed to help wildlife migrate.

2. In Wyoming, miles of fencing are being removed to help wildlife migrate.

Scientists conservatively estimate that more than 600,000 miles of fences crisscross the American West, hindering wild animals from moving around freely and safely. In some cases, the fences are simply left-over remnants that were erected decades ago and no longer serving any purpose. In others, they were constructed with little thought about their impact on other species.

Today, through an emerging field of research known as fence ecology, land managers and conservation groups in the United States are increasingly aware of how fences can harm wild animals. And they are beginning to push for fence removal or replacement as a solution that many otherwise-at-odds constituents can get behind. In Wyoming, the Absaroka Fence Initiative — a public-private partnership between willing landowners and land managers — sees volunteers, landowners, and federal agencies working together to help wildlife by removing miles and miles of fencing.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: beavers are now protected in England

3. 400 years after they were hunted to extinction, beavers are now a protected species in England.

As of October 1st, 2022, it is illegal to deliberately capture, injure, kill or otherwise disturb the charismatic rodents, who have reclaimed a foothold in their native land in recent years. Beavers — known as “nature’s engineers” because of their industrious dam-building skills — create wetlands, which are an important habitat for many plants and animals. In doing so, they also prevent flooding and drought-related problems such as wildfires by keeping water in the land. While new incoming governments can always change this law, this is welcome news for now.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: the largest wildlife crossing in the United States breaks ground.

4. The largest wildlife crossing in the United States breaks ground.

In April 2022, construction began for a long-awaited a $90-million wildlife crossing above the US-101 Freeway in Agoura Hills in southern California. This is the result of a 20-year campaign to create an easier path of travel for mountain lions, foxes, and other wildlife to cross 10 lanes of Highway 101 without encountering a single car.

The efforts to save both animals and people have led to a proliferation of road crossings for animals along traditional migration routes and other crucial locations around the world. The practice originated in France in the 1950s and quickly spread to the Netherlands, which now is home of the world’s longest wildlife bridge at .5 miles (.8 km). According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 300,000 wildlife collisions happen on U.S. roadways each year, and those are just estimates. Many smaller animal deaths never get reported. This new bridge will save thousands of lives.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows signs of coral recovery

5. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef shows the best signs of coral recovery in 36 years.

Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia recorded the highest amount of coral cover in nearly four decades. While the reef is still vulnerable to climate change and mass bleaching, these latest results demonstrate the Reef can still recover in periods free of intense disturbances. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered from widespread and severe bleaching because of rising ocean temperatures. “What we’re seeing,” said Dr Paul Hardisty of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, “is that the Great Barrier Reef is still a resilient system. It still maintains that ability to recover from disturbances.”

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: 200 national agree to promote biodiversity

6. 200 nations agree to a landmark deal to promote biodiversity and save species from extinction.

The UN biodiversity conference, known as COP15, has been considered the last chance for nature’s recovery. One of the most significant parts of the pact is an agreement to protect 30 per cent of nature by 2030. This ‘30×30’ target is one of the biggest land and ocean conservation commitments in history. The deal includes a pledge to conservation in the developing world and protections for Indigenous peoples’ rights. Governments also agreed to take urgent action on preventing the extinction of species at threat from human activity and promote their recovery.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: the largest climate legislation in the U.S. was signed into law

7. The largest U.S. climate legislation in history was signed into law.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) commits $370 billion to combat climate change. Aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions to around 40% by 2030 and curbing consumer energy costs at the same time, it is the largest federal response to climate change in history and will set the course for substantial changes in how the nation produces energy over the next decade.

Major provisions include major new or expanded funding to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, encouraging a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, promoting agricultural practices that capture carbon dioxide, expanding offshore production of energy (both fossil and wind), and providing federal support for energy efficiency. The IRA also includes dozens of new and extended tax credits for renewable energy, electric vehicles, electric transmission, and related industries.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: wolves and bears are making a recovery in Europe

8. In Europe, wolves, brown bears, and white-tailed eagles are making a dramatic recovery.

Some of the top predators are thriving in Europe, according to a major new report commissioned by Rewilding Europe, a charity working to restore wild spaces across the continent. Effective legal protection, habitat restoration, and wildlife reintroductions are all helping to drive species recovery. Among the top predators, the grey wolf is making the strongest recovery. Once hunted to near extinction, 17,000 wolves are now found right across Europe.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: bees are no longer declining in the netherlands

9. The urban bee population is no longer declining in The Netherlands thanks to a pollinator strategy.

The native wild bee population in the Netherlands has been declining since the 1940s, but recognizing the crucial role played by wild bees in the pollination of food crops, the government announced a national pollinator strategy in 2018. The strategy included 70 initiatives aimed at creating more nesting sites for bees and strengthening their food supply. Amsterdam has been working on various bee-friendly initiatives that include putting up “bee hotels,” which are a collection of hollow plant stems or thin bamboo that provide space for bees to nest. All of the efforts are working. The latest count of native bees since the project began showed no population decline.

10 reasons to be hopeful for animals: a landmark bill will ban the shark fin trade in the United States.

10. A landmark bill will ban the shark fin trade in the United States.

Before the U.S. Senate passed this legislation, 14 states and three U.S. territories had already banned the sale and possession of shark fins. The new bill will prohibit the fin trade across the entire U.S. It’s estimated that fins from as many as 73 million sharks annually end up in the global market. This historic bill bans the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States, thereby removing our country from the global shark fin trade. Shark fins are mainly in demand for shark fin soup, a luxury dish popular in China, Hong Kong and many other places across Asia.

This forthcoming ban follows other measures to protect sharks, including the listing of many shark species on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and a ban on gear that is used to target sharks in the Pacific.

What did I miss? What are your reasons to be hopeful for animals and nature from 2022 or in general? Share your stories of hope with me in the comments below!

Food Waste and Animals

Thanks for listening to my NPR commentary about how the food waste we generate affects not just our wallets but the animals we attract to it. Listen below, on KQED’s website, read the transcript below, and please share with friends and family. It’s a perspective that can change the world for animals. 

You’ve heard it before: of the edible food Americans buy and bring home, about 40% gets thrown in the garbage. That translates to between $1,300 and $2,200 per household per year. When we stop treating food as garbage, the benefits are manifold — most obviously: saving money. But removing food scraps from our garbage cans is also a benefit to our relationship with the natural world — especially wildlife.

The more food we throw away, the more wild animals come to rely on that food in our trash cans, leading to human-wildlife encounters that can be inconvenient and costly for us and dangerous — often fatal — for them.

Perceiving opportunistic visitors — from the largest bears to the smallest rodents — as a nuisance often ends badly for them, but rather than changing our behavior and removing the tasty buffets that lure them in the first place, we demonize the raccoons, opossums, mice, and rats who rummage through our garbage cans and pay companies to gas, poison, or glue-trap them.

Sadly, this isn’t the only price animals pay for our wastefulness. High mortality rates by vehicle collisions and consumption of toxic non-digestibles are also linked with animals’ attraction to our garbage.
Reducing food waste is essential and do-able, especially since we know the main causes of it in our homes:

  • Buying more food than we need
  • Being unwilling to consume leftovers
  • Improperly storing food
  • And misunderstanding the meaning of “sell-by dates.”

By seeing the food in our refrigerators as valuable rather than disposable means taking responsibility and being resourceful. There’s a reason humans have been canning, pickling, and fermenting foods for hundreds of years. But if that feels too advanced…at least consider:

  • Making a cobbler out of tired-looking fruit
  • Making stock from veggie scraps
  • Freezing chopped herbs before they wilt
    and so much more…

By literally turning lemons into lemonade, we save money, we save resources, and we save animals.

With a Perspective, I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Halloween Movies with an Animal Theme

Don’t worry! I don’t recommend films in which animals are the victims of gruesome violence. So, grab some popcorn, get a pen and paper, and settle into this episode where I share my suggestions for films that are perfect for Halloween — for kids and adult alike. 

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

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Animal-Friendly Gardens: Plants, Flowers, and Trees Named After Animals

The thousands of animal-related words and expressions we have in our English language illustrate how deeply connected we are to animals, and that’s never more apparent than in the names of plants — both the common names and the botanical names.

Join me on this fun journey through gardens, fields, and forests as we discover plants, trees, flowers, and fungi named after animals.

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.

How to Create an Intentional Daily Routine — During Quarantine or Anytime!

Creating a daily routine is essential even if we weren’t quarantined, sheltering in place, and physically distancing from one another. (Has anyone coined “Quar-routine” yet?) 

In a previous episode called “50 Ways to Create a Meaningful Life,” I promised I would break out some of the items into their own individual episodes, and so here we are. 

In this episode, I share 10 ways I organize my day so as to ensure that I have as joyful and meaningful a day as possible. (And when I falter…how a routine helps me re-set the day.) 

I can’t wait to hear about your routine! Take a listen, and drop me a line. 

Captive Animals, Captive Humans⁠

(I wrote this letter to the Washington Post in response to their article about animals in zoos during Coronavirus a couple days before a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for Covid-19.)

In reading the end of your article about how “some zoos and aquariums … are streaming live-feeds of their exhibits to keep the public connected to their animals,” I couldn’t help but see the irony in live-streaming videos of captive animals to the homes of captive humans.

The fact that zoonotic diseases like Covid-19 pass from animals to humans is another irony that should also not be lost on your readers. While Covid-19 (and SARS before it) originated in a live market where wild animals are kept to be sold for human consumption, it is precisely confinement of wild animals and their proximity to humans that increase the chances of zoonotic diseases passing between human and non-human animals.

Perhaps a silver lining in all of this will be a heightened awareness that other animals’ desire for freedom, life, autonomy, and self-determination is as strong as our own. If we’re frustrated by our temporary lack of mobility and independence, imagine how they feel.

We can admire birds in our backyards; watch bees pollinate flowers; or spot wild turkeys, deer, and lizards while on a hiking trail.

We can be captivated by animals without holding them captive.

~Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Actions You Can Take

  • Writing (thoughtful, respectful) letters to editors of newspapers — locally, regionally, and nationally — is a wonderful way to be a voice for animals and helps you articulate your thoughts about a given subject.
  • For more on animals and coronavirus, check out my series on the Food for Thought podcast about how the virus affects and is affected by non-human animals.
  • Please feel free to share any or all of this letter.

Related Topics

Animals and Coronavirus: Poaching and Eating Wild Animals

Join me for this Food for Thought podcast series that examines what the covid-19 / coronavirus virus means for non-human animals and the habits, laws, and policies that affect our treatment of them. The first episode in the series focuses on wild animals who are poached, farmed, and eaten.

The source for the recent coronavirus outbreak that has led to a devastating worldwide pandemic has been linked to a market in mainland China, where wild animals are sold and killed for human consumption. China has said it will permanently ban the consumption of animals, but many questions remain.

  • Will this virus put an end to the illegal wildlife trade in China and Southeast Asia?
  • Will the wildlife farms in China reopen once the pandemic is over?
  • Will this be the end to live animal markets and wet markets where wild and domesticated animals are sold and killed for meat?
  • Will China close the loopholes (such as exemptions for fur and Traditional Chinese Medicine) that exist in their bans on wildlife poaching and consumption?
  • Will good come out of this devastation?
  • Is there anything you can do to help make a difference?

Listen to this listener-supported episode as I attempt to answer these questions. (become a supporter at patreon.com/colleenpatrickgoudreau)

HOW TO LISTEN / SUBSCRIBE TO FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

  1. Click PLAY on the player below
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT IS A LISTENER SUPPORTED PODCAST. Please become a supporter today!

Issues addressed in this episode

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Illegal Wildlife Trade
  • Poaching
  • Wet Markets
  • Live Animal Markets
  • Bear Bile Farming / Farms
  • Wild Animal Farming 
  • Wildlife Protection Laws in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries
  • Covid-19 / Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Zoonotic Diseases 

Why Vegan? Pick a Reason. Any Reason.

Some people choose to stop eating animal flesh and fluids to experience health benefits or to reverse a particular illness or ailment. Some people don’t want to contribute to violence against animals or pay people to work in an industry that desensitizes them to animal suffering and thus to their own compassion.

Aware of the devastating effects of animal agriculture on the environment, some people are moved to help prevent global warming. With precious rainforests disappearing in order to create grazing land for cattle, wild animals being killed at the behest of private ranchers, and precious resources being poured into what is an unsustainable system, eliminating the consumption of animal products is indeed a logical and sensible response. 

So, pick a reason — any reason, and it alone would be reason enough to justify eating an animal-free diet. Whether you care about human rights, food safety, wild animals, the environment, world hunger, farmed animals, or your own health, just a cursory look at these issues demonstrates how intricately linked they are to our consumption of animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs.

Which reason do you choose?