Posts Tagged ‘feral animals’

Regular visitors to the riverblog know that I comment on everything that doesn’t belong in this environment which takes in more than man-made debris.  Invasive species, non-native species, and domesticated animals turned loose are changing the ecosystem too.  Recently, I posted about the growing feral cat problem I’ve been observing in the park.  Kind hearted people have been trying to take care of them by dumping dry cat food around the picnic tables near the Interpretive Center.  As a reminder, here is another photograph illustrating this.

Sometimes I see what seems to me to be a ridiculous amounts of food spread out in this area.  Returning from a hike in the park’s western section, I stopped to watch three cats that were eating dry cat food that had been spread along the curb of the parking lot. 

From the corner of my eye I saw something moving in the brush and thought it might be a fourth cat joining in the feast…but it wasn’t.

It was a raccoon and only the second one I’ve seen in broad daylight out here.  Usually, these animals are more reclusive than this and prefer to operate under the cover of darkness, but here was this adult raccoon making a bee-line for the cat food.

I don’t view this as a good thing for all species concerned here.  Granted, the high river was probably cutting off some of the territory that the raccoon would forage over and this animal was hungry.  Wild animals that become habituated to man usually don’t fare well.  And in this case, there is a real danger that if this raccoon had rabies…it could transmit it to the cats who regularly come in contact with people.  By being out in broad daylight near an area populated by people, this raccoon was already displaying atypical behavior.

To my eye, the cats seemed less wary than the raccoon who is supposed to be a wild animal.  This scene was broken up when visitors with a dog on a leash came too close and the cats and coon ran into the woods.  I’m confidant that whomever is dumping cat food out here is not thinking about unintended consequences…but they should.  I’m not against cats, but I don’t think we should encourage them to live near wild life.  Recently, I found two objects left behind by the flooding that illustrate our affection for felines and I’ll end this post with them.  Until next time.



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