Should Gulf Breeze Wildlife Stay or Nay?

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Recently, Gulf Breeze neighborhoods have reported more and more bears. Residents argue whether to take them away or leave them alone. They have been running through the streets and causing problems for the residents of Gulf Breeze. Some people call them a nuisance while others say that the bears were here first and that we are invading their lives.

It’s not just bears in everyone’s yard; there are also coyotes, raccoons, deer, rabbits, armadillos, snakes, and other wildlife that are showing up in Gulf Breeze. Locals complain that the animals knock over trash cans, make big messes in their yards, and cause damage in their backyards. Sometimes the bears even climb their trees! People say the wildlife are losing more and more forest, so they are trying to adapt to life with humans. Locals begin to feed the animals and they start to come around more often. People think that the animals are their pets and have the nerve to start petting the animals. Squirrels and wild birds are becoming as common as cats and dogs.

Other people disagree with the removing of the animals and want nature to stay.

Since August 1, Gulf Breeze Police Department has recorded 19 calls about bears in people’s trash cans, yards, etc. The Florida Fish and Wildlife service has taken 231 calls from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. Many people think that the wildlife are moving in  because the are less trees in the area but that may not be the only reason why; people may be attracting the animals, too. Holli Nichols, Northwest Regional Wildlife Assistance Biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, says,“Learn to identify and secure attractants that draw unwanted wildlife (garbage, pet food, bird seed, BBQ grills, fallen fruit.).” The wildlife may be coming to us because they smell or see food left out for pets or bird seed fallen from feeders. Attacks may happen when people try to feed them directly.

Gulf Breeze Police Lead Dispatcher Jon Rhodes says, “One good suggestion is to make sure that your space is not attracting the animals.” This may be another case. The animals could be coming to our neighborhoods because there is an easy food source. Or there may not be any food left in the forest. Jon Rhodes also states, “Do not try to feed them, not matter how cute they look. Stay away from babies, moms can be very protective.” People and children could get attacked and seriously injured when they see animals and want to pet or feed them. Children especially are not aware of the dangers of wild animals. They could try to pick up baby animals and get attacked by the mother animal. They could also try feeding the animals and get a bite that could possibly spread diseases through their body.

All in all, people and wildlife can live in harmony if people just take wise precautions and keep a healthy distance.

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