Earlier this week, we were standing in the driveway and were surprised to see a little fox trotting, without a care in the world, along the lane (far enough away to not attract the attention of our big black dog who was sniffing and peeing on things elsewhere). We don’t get to see the foxes often, they keep pretty well hidden and deeper in the woods. We live in the woods, so we know how lucky we are to have as much interaction with wildlife as we do–lucky for us, but perhaps not for the wildlife. Our particular house has been here longer than I’ve been alive on the planet, but as green spaces and open tracts of land are cut and distributed into a jigsaw puzzle of fenced yards and paved roads and patios and pools and homes, the original residents get wedged into tinier and tinier spots. The regular and increasing incidence of bear interactions with humans in towns and backyards is the perfect example–it is us invading them, not the other way around.
In my community, I had not previously known about the rescue and rehabilitation organization, Wildlife in Crisis. Entirely run by volunteers (so not a dime of donations goes to salaries, just straight to the animals), the “Nurture Center, not Nature Center” is dedicated to rehab and release, wildlife preservation, and land conservation. Raccoon in the chimney, skunk in the garage, hawk with a broken wing in the backyard…WIC helps and provides emergency medical care and temporary housing for injured and orphaned animals, and answers about 10,000 calls every year.
There is likely a similar center near you that is needing volunteers. Even in large metro areas (I remember the hawks that returned to nest every year on the Brooklyn Bridge), wildlife/human interaction means wildlife will need help. Maybe this is a place to donate some of your time and energy as you look for ways to be of service. Try an Internet search with a combination of key words like “wildlife” “volunteer” “rescue” and “rehab” and add your community name or zip code–see what you come up with.