There are many dangers for wildlife in the city. Wild animals often travel deeper into urban areas than they realize and find themselves confronted with an environment they do not understand. They may wander into heavily trafficked areas, get hit by cars, get frightened by people, and–if the animal happens to be a bird–fly into glass.
In residential areas, wildlife face a different set of problems. Domestic animals destroy wildlife habitat and injure and often kill young and adult animals.
In a 2013 study, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals in the United States every year.
Although the numbers for wildlife deaths from domestic dogs are far lower, they are still important to consider. Dogs have been known to attack wildlife in residential areas and in parks. Of greatest concern is the effect that unleashed dogs have on parks and wildlife habitat nationwide. When allowed to roam free, dogs stray away from park trails and destroy habitat and nesting areas for birds and small mammals. Coupled with the worldwide reduction of wildlife habitat that results from climate change and urban development, this is a big issue.
To learn about what you can do to help wildlife, take a look at How You Can Help Keep Wildlife Safe.