I’ve lived in Laguna Beach in the same house bordering the Wood Canyon watershed for the past 49 years. I enjoyed wildlife by the dozen pass through our backyard including raccoons, possums, rabbits, squirrels, deer, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, owls, hawks, snakes, lizards, roadrunners and the occasional litter of kittens dumped in our neighborhood by some irresponsible owner. The majority of these animals are gone now, cut off from food and habitat due to land development.
After many years of absence, a small baby skunk was scurrying around our backyard recently looking for grubs and leftover bird food. I named him Alexi. Today Alexi no longer visits me. Alexi is no more.
I discovered my neighbor is trapping skunks to have them removed because “something is digging in his garden.” Imagine my horror to watch a contractor setting traps for wild animals, the criminal offense for crossing a private property boundary under state law is trespass, the penalty is death. What right do people have to move here and trap and euthanize wild-animals already in decline? I recommend if you cannot outsmart wild animals or you dislike them then don’t live here. You should consider living in a penthouse with a roof-top garden and a caretaker.
Those of you using baited traps to control mice or rodents need a reminder. Bait poison also enters the food supply for wild animals. Poisoning rodents may kill owls and any natural predator that feeds on the poisoned rodent; that goes for domestic animals too. My strong healthy pet cat lived with me for 10 years but died suddenly. I suspect poison from a baited trap and the veterinarian did not rule that out. A smarter solution for rodent control is sealing your garbage in indoor containers so rodents will not be attracted to the odor. Remove the food source and you remove the rodents.
In our neighborhood, the decline in predators like snakes caused an explosion in gophers. Cut-up garlic dropped into the runs of gophers works well for keeping gophers out of our garden. Maybe yours too. We have taken the land away from wildlife. So learn to live with those left. They are a joy to watch.
Anneliese Miklosy, Laguna Beach