What causes wildlife in the neighborhood
Forester Geva PeerenboomWildlife in the City: plea For quality neighborhood
"The wild animals have understood that you can live quite well in the city," says Geva Peerenboom. The forester pleads for a conflict-free coexistence of people and wild animals in the city.
Geva Peerenboom is not surprised by the case from Berlin. In the summer, wild boars made headlines at Teufelssee. Some had simply fetched something to eat from the picnic blankets of the people there. Another wild boar was followed by a naked man for stealing his laptop in a bag.
The qualified forest manager knows exactly where and which wild animals penetrate the urban area. In a research project for the University of Freiburg, she recently looked at what kind of conflicts arise between humans and wild animals and how these conflicts can be defused.
Wild animals find plenty to eat in cities
Wild animals rarely come to us in the cities for threatening intent, Geva Peerenboom clarifies. But when a new residential area is built, for example, she finds it understandable that "the animals that live nearby come to see what is delicious."
"In fact, just like humans, wild animals have noticed that the city is a good place to live."
Of course, wild animals such as foxes, martens, geese or even wild boars find a very comfortable habitat, says Geva Peerenboom. On the one hand, animals find green parks just as beautiful as we humans. On the other hand, they can find enough food in rubbish bins or in school yards.
"If you imagine: After the long break, how many school sandwiches are lying around in a playground, a fox or a crow will find enough to eat."
How comfortable the wild animals feel in our cities in the long term depends on what we allow, says Geva Peerenboom. She cites a city in Ethiopia as an example. An incredible number of hyenas live there because they are tolerated and even fed by the people there. That has to do with the development of the city, explains the forestry graduate.
The hyenas would have understood that if they leave humans alone they will get something to eat. And now it has even gone so far that tourists can buy meat and then feed hyenas in the evening.
Stroking wild boars and foxes is not a good idea
Compared to other countries, our wild animals are really rather harmless. While there are brown bears on the streets in Romania or leopards in Mumbai, our rabbits, wild boar or foxes are more peaceful. It is advisable to treat the animals with respect. Petting a fox is not a good idea, says Geva Peerenboom. She advises staying calm - and maybe even taking a picture.
"Keep calm, keep your distance, do not try to stroke or feed. Maybe unpack the camera, take a photo."
The main conflict between wildlife and humans arises from our fear, says Geva Peerenboom. "Then the pulse goes up," she says. Wild boars have already run through glass and there have been some in the living room. In principle, however, the animals are skeptical of people. In addition, there are not as many attacks as you think, she says. "It is always said that our most dangerous wild animal is the tick."
But if people have a fox in their garden, it can make sense to get professional advice. If the fox has young animals, it could be dangerous to let your children play in the garden. Then you have to look for solutions.
Meeting wildlife is also a lovely experience
The forester also emphasizes that for most people it is a special and beautiful experience to encounter a wild animal in the city. In some cases it is certainly exciting when, for example, bats get lost in the apartment. Animals that can no longer find out on their own can try to help or get competent help.
However, some people were also a bit sensitive to wild animals. Geva Peerenboom reports that complaints have already been received about the croaking of the frogs in the garden pond.
"In a phone call with nature conservation authorities, people complained about croaking frogs in the garden pond. Of course, you can create problems."
Finally, Geva Peerenboom advocates a certain level of tolerance towards wild animals in cities. She wishes that when we meet them we will always ask again whether this is really a serious conflict or not. And that we just leave the animals alone.
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