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|Over the last hundred years, the western world has undergone a dramatic shift from a rural society to urban technology. Today the only experience most people have with animals is with their domestic pets.
||It is no wonder wildlife knowledge and appreciation has declined. Susceptible to misinformation on methods of husbandry, wildlife conservation, disease fact distortion - especially when sensationalized by the media - often disturb the public more than the abstract problems they are designed to alleviate.
Sensationalism, lack of proper education and extreme regulations spawn broad misunderstandings and complicates efforts to find remedies for genuine problems.
The grossly limited fundamental nature of education by most state wildlife agencies is to simply tell the public not to feed wildlife, to secure their pet food and trash, and to not dare go near an animal - while they insure in their minds the animal is certainly diseased.
This group, made fearful, will be the ones to call the state or pest control each time they see any wild animal near their home. They will shoot, trap, poison and harm at any opportunity. Their fear and actions result in wasted agency time, challenges for rehabilitators, harm to other innocent animals, and a new generation of people who will inherently also live in fear as a result of ignorance.
To the other extreme lies the belief among the common educators that the public actually caring for wild animals will incur improper feeding, possession and related such issues.
Such issues will always exist and always have, for among the city-gone-rural population there will always be caring hearts and misguided intentions.
The caring group truly needs educated just as badly. Only proper education can provide any such knowledge. This group has not and will not comply, nor buy the all-out disease distorted brainwashing. This group must be made to understand the risks to the actual wild animal, the risk to their own domestic pets, and further - giving them opportunity in HOW to truly help wildlife will best serve them – and wildlife.
These are people who can extend proper education, become volunteers for many various conservation groups, and even teach others in matters like backyard habitat creation, safety, and “nuisance” advice.
With proper education comes the opportunity to merge these two groups into a new generation of citizens who appreciate and respect wild animals, who know the specific reasons why they should not trap and relocate, why they should not feed, what the TRUE risks are of possession, and much more.
While every person can’t be educated as such, and every animal can’t be helped, for even one person or one animal, it can make ALL the difference in their world.