Marines

With summer here wild animals sightings may increase

15 Jun 2011 | Lance Cpl. Barrera

Every summer, wild animals are seen more often than any other season. From the smallest squirrel to the black bear, they also want to enjoy the warm weather, which sometimes brings humans and wild animals closer than most wish.

“This time of year we receive a lot of calls concerning injured animals or nuisances, and sometimes it can lead to interaction,” said Kevin Driscoll, a fish and wildlife technician with Land and Wildlife Resources Section, Environmental Conservation Branch, Environmental Management Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Driscoll added that feeding wild animals is highly discouraged.

“They lose their fear of people, can return looking for more food and may become a nuisance,” said Driscoll. “Things like bird feeders, unsecured trash cans and pet food can also be seen as an invitation for free food.”

If a service member or dependent does have a bird feeder it is recommended that they buy a squirrel proof feeder, which will help deter the pesky rodents.

“If you have your pet food and water outside, take that in once they’re done, if left outside it is an invitation to various animals,” said Driscoll. “The same for trash. Make sure bags are closed and when placed in the trash can that it is secured. Squirrels and raccoons would love an opportunity for easy food.”

Wild animals, unlike pets who have been vaccinated, can also be carriers of many diseases such as rabies. Driscoll stated that rabies is the chief disease with many mammals. Foxes, bats, skunks and squirrels can all be carriers. It is recommended that pets stay on a leash or in a fenced-in area.

This time of year is also when many baby birds start learning to fly and fawns are left alone while their mothers venture to forage for food. If baby birds have fallen from their nest, it is recommended to remove pets, children and any hazards from the area until the bird leaves. For fawns, people can check up on them the next day and if the animal is distressed or making noise, then they can call the environmental conservation branch, the conservation law enforcement office or animal control if it is a domesticated animal.

MCB Camp Lejeune is also home to many dangerous animals as well. A variety of snakes, alligators and the black bear all call the base home. Base personnel are strongly urged to leave these type of animals alone, especially if they are sick or injured as they may pose a more serious threat.

“We’ve had alligators near Marston Pavilion, the Wallace Creek area and even Orde Pond,” said Driscoll. “Camp Lejeune also has a variety of snakes, some poisonous. If anyone is bitten by an animal, I recommend they go to the emergency room just to be safe.”

To report a wild animal that is a nuisance, danger, or injured, call the Environmental Management Division at 451-5063 or on weekends and after hours call the Conservation Law Enforcement Office at 451-2916.