Wisconsin Gone Wild...Man vs. Wild. A Real Threat?

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by Michael Schlesinger

MILWAUKEE-- Many of you probably spent the weekend "bagging a buck" as part of an annual hunting ritual of thinning out the herd, but you might be surprised to know we could be losing the battle.

We're all supposed to live together side by side.

Sometimes we close in on each other and then at times our worlds collide. It's estimated, in our country, the total cost of wildlife damage to crops, landscaping, and infrastructure now exceeds $28 billion dollars a year, with $1.5 billion from deer-vehicle crashes alone.

Kim Forbeck and her colleague Tim Vargo of the Urban Ecological Center in Milwaukee have a completely different mindset.

To them, it's all about responsibility and compassion toward each other, man or mammal.

We should also realize our daily goal, no matter who or what we are, are very similar. Food, water, and shelter.

Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Manager Scott Diehl adds to the discussion.

In all, he cites a handful of species, including rabbits, deer, raccoons, squirrels and coyotes causing most of the mixups with their human neighbors as urban revitalization grows.

He challenges us to step up to the plate and be the better stewards by looking out for each other. Instead of trapping raccoons going into your garbage, Diehl says put a bungee chord around the cans. He suggests letting grass grow higher, especially around golf courses, to keep the geese away.

Tom Isaac with the DNR says we are all on this earth together. We shouldn't be afraid of one another. Instead we need to be knowledgeable about all types of species.

It's important to mention there are two main type of species, generalists and specialists.

Generalists, like raccoons and deer, tend to do better with population booms because they can adjust to urban environments. Specialists on the other hand, like otters and wolves, have a harder time coping and can become endangered easier.

The experts stress if you have wildlife in your yard or property make sure to enjoy their beauty. But just don't feed them. You shouldn't consider them your friends.

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