Help from Our Wildlife Friends

Article by Elizabeth Trickey

Read Time: 3 minutes

Most of us love watching wildlife and understand that each species is necessary for life on Earth.  But do we really know and appreciate what they actually do for us?  Well, keep reading to find out how important our wildlife friends are.

Do you like bananas, mangoes, avocados?  How about a cold Margarita on a hot summer evening?  You can thank the bats for those things!  Southern bats have extremely long tongues that can reach to the bottom of the flowers of those fruits to extract the nectar needed for pollination.  Just bats do this.  No other animal.  Our more northern bats help farmers by eating insects that damage crops, and their guano (poo!) is a great fertilizer. 

 Many of our flying friends such ladybugs, bees, butterflies, birds, and even mosquitoes help fertilize fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we depend on for nutrition.  As well, they help pollinate plants that humans use in industry for wood products, clothing, building, and medications.  Bees provide us with $30 billion a year in crops!  The world can’t do without those wee critters!

As for mosquitoes, as much as they can ruin a great summer BBQ, they are food for quite a number of species such as frogs, dragonflies, fish, and spiders, all of which which we need to balance our ecosystem.  That goes the same for ticks, which are a main food for bats and some birds.

Vultures eat dead critters that sometimes die of serious illnesses like rabies.  These raptors have immune systems that allow them to tolerate bacteria, even anthrax, cholera, and botulism!  Without vultures to rid our communities of decomposing cadavers, we are at risk of being exposed to these toxic carcasses that will seep into our water table.

Birds of prey keep our mice and rat populations down, with owls being the main predator.  Snakes and weasels also chow down on these rodents, which is great because rats are a health risk for us, and damage crops. Frogs provide many benefits to humans.  Besides eating mosquitoes, ticks, and slugs, and being a food source for several species, they provide us with substances that are developed into painkillers, antibiotics, and medical products such as surgical glue.  As well, baby tadpoles eat algae which helps keep the water clean and oxygen in wetland areas.

Squirrels are active all year round, so need to collect and bury seeds to eat during the winter.  Sadly for them, but good for us, they don’t always remember where they hid them!  These uneaten seeds become plants and trees which help to replenish our forests.

When beavers build dams, they create deeper water areas which help to keep the surrounding land moist.  This is a benefit since dams filter water, making it safer to consume, and it helps in farming.  Dams also lessen the chance of forest fires which kill both floral and fauna, and emit toxic fumes.

And what do chipmunks do for us?  They amuse us!  We cannot diminish the emotional aspect of watching wildlife.  Chipmunks bring joy to many people with their antics and cheeks stuffed with treats.  Emotional health is as important as physical health.

This is just a small sampling of how our wildlife friends contribute to our lives.  Protecting critters is protecting ourselves.  That’s what we do at Procyon Wildlife.  We care for every animal in need of help that comes to us.  And when they are healthy and ready to return to their natural habitat, we release them.  Please help us do this work by making a donation. 

Photo: Rising Sun

Help from Our Wildlife Friends
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