Creature comforts

Living in beautiful, rural Maine poses some challenges that rarely appear on the radar of folks in urban and suburban settings. One of these challenges is the proximity of wildlife. Towns, private organizations and individuals must work together to keep people, pets, livestock and wild animals safe and out of each other’s way. We shouldn’t expect anyone to do this work for free.

Maine taxpayers support the Warden Service, but they have a broad mandate, and wardens cover large areas of the state.

When a deer is hit, an eagle flies into power lines, or a stranded seal is injured, the response falls to local law enforcement, local officials and private entities.

Police and animal control officers help transport injured animals to veterinarians, to the SPCA or to rehabilitation centers like the Acadia Wildlife Foundation and Avian Haven.

On the shore, Allied Whale’s marine mammal stranding response program is the first responder in our area, but ill or injured animals must be taken to Marine Mammals of Maine in Bath or even farther afield for care.

But once the animal crosses the threshold of a care facility, public support largely ends.

Some of our towns support programs that provide spay and neuter services and rabies shots for cats and dogs to prevent the growth of feral or dangerous populations. This may not be enough.

Whether towns decide to contribute to rehab centers as cooperating agencies, or individuals and groups step up to assist with fundraising, more should be done. We should not take their presence in our community for granted.

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