Living with Urban Wildlife by John Bryant

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Killing unwanted visitors to our homes and gardens is a multi-billion pound industry. This invaluable guide shows how to combat some of the main problems, such as squirrels in the loft, or rats in the garden, humanely and without recourse to lethal methods. Tolerance and changes in attitude are essential to overcome ignorance and fear. An essential guide. 2002. 132pp.

Species that thrive and are resourceful enough to adapt to our environment are very often labelled as pests. Whenever there is a perceived problem, the first response is to call in a pest control company or the local authority rat catchers. Decisions about how to tackle problems are normally based on misinformation propagated by pest control companies. Killing unwanted visitors has become a multi-billion pound industry and sometimes the most barbaric methods of lethal 'control' are employed. All too often, practices used only make the problem worse by inadvertently increasing numbers. Humane 'pest' control is in its infancy and, over the coming years, it will become one of the most important tasks of the animal protection movement to advance it. If we are unable to persuade people to appreciate wildlife then we have to encourage them to be tolerant, always emphasising the need to concede territory to other species.

Beyond this, practical guidance to tried and tested methods of discouraging unwanted visitors by humane methods is invaluable. Even the most avid wildlife enthusiast may at some point be troubled (say) to find squirrels nesting high up in the loft, and this is where expert advice is needed. John Bryant is more than qualified to give such advice. A former chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports and manager of Ferne Animal Sanctuary, John now helps urban dwellers to find humane solutions to problems with wildlife in his role as a consultant. In Living With Urban Wildlife, the author gives us insight into the lives of those mammals and birds who are commonly regarded as 'pests'. He shows us how an understanding of animal biology and behaviour can provide some answers about how to deter them. This is a guide for campaigners to turn to for easy reference. What we need now is someone to write another guidebook on what to do if there is a wasp or red ants nest in your garden. Any volunteers?

Elaine Toland