We two-leggeds have done a remarkably thorough job of gobbling up the best and most easily accessible land on the planet. When wild relatives insist on hanging around, we get pretty testy if they eat our roses, stomp on our pets or raid our garbage.
I understand. Snails have eaten my seedlings. Raccoons have tipped my garbage. Starlings have punched holes in every one of my cherries. Deer have gobbled my roses. Bears have chased my sheep. Foxes have eaten my ducks. I understand how easy it is to go ballistic when the prize beans intended for a gourmet dinner go missing or the lamb disappears down a cougar’s gullet.
On the other hand, there are some real pluses to sharing the planet. Walking through an urban neighbourhood and stopping to watch a deer pull leaves off a tree is one of them. So is catching sight of a heron coming in for a landing, an osprey plucking a fish out of the lake, or a mother duck taking her fuzzy newborns on a foraging expedition.
When I see my wild neighbours, I’m reassured that although we’re doing our best to narrow their options, some of them still manage to thrive in cities. I wish there were more of them. They remind us we share the world with some pretty remarkable creatures.