Owning and caring for a pet can be an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience. Most pet owners would agree that life without them would be pretty boring. Occasionaly though, pets can cause serious impacts on the local environment when their owners are misinformed or even irresponsible.
Surprisingly, aquarium pets can cause some of the most serious and irreversible damage to
the environment. All too often when someone no longer wants an aquarium pet the quick
and easy solution is to release it into the local stream, wetland or forest. However,
most aquarium or pond pets and associated plants are not native to this area. When
animals and plants from other parts of the world are introduced into our ecosystem they
have the potential to displace and out-compete native species. Recently, through
fisheries sampling as part of the
Durham Region Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project,
CLOCA staff discovered an established population of goldfish (native to eastern Asia) in
Pumphouse Marsh located in south Oshawa. If you
do find yourself in a situation where you can no longer care for an aquarium pet there is
an organization called the
Canadian Association of Aquarium Clubs
that can help you find a new home for your pet.
Taking your dog for a walk is good exercise for both of you as well as a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. You may wonder how your one dog could possibly have a negative impact on the local environment. Although the impact of your dog may be minimal, the collective impact of thousands of dogs visiting the same area can have serious consequences. Dogs that are allowed to roam freely and are not controlled with a leash can disturb and even displace wildlife at critical and vulnerable times of the year, destroy vegetation and increase erosion. Dog-walkers should stay on trails that are available in Conservation Areas and parks as they are specifically designed to minimize impact to an area. Practicing “poop-and-scoop?is another way to prevent excessive nutrients from entering waterways.
Domestic cats, when allowed to roam freely outside, pose a bigger threat to wildlife than you might imagine. Even if your cat is well fed, wears a bell, or has its claws removed, it probably still has a strong instinct to hunt. Cats are responsible for killing millions of birds and small mammals each year and this can be prevented by keeping your feline friend indoors.
Domestic Cat Predation on Birds and Other Wildlife
Keeping Cats Indoors Isn’t Just For The Birds!