To flourish, wildlife requires a delicate hands-on, hands-off balance from human interaction. Too much effort may lead to destruction while too little leads to neglect. Two examples in which man and wildlife go hand-in-hand and butt heads are outdoor sports and logging.
Participating in outdoor sports is a great way for humans to get outdoors. Shem Creek is a popular fishing location in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s popularity has been great for the community of people in the area, but has put the creek’s wildlife in danger.
At the end of April this year, a brown pelican was found tangled in a fishing line in Shem Creek by a staff member of Coastal Expeditions. “Man made items, such as fishing line, landscape netting, and other discarded plastics can easily get wrapped around the feet, wings and beaks of birds.” The Center for Birds of Prey was contacted and the bird was fortunately untangled from the line. A local shrimper and members of the community assisted in the rescue. They adore the creek and the wildlife surrounding it.
After a month of care at the Avian Medical Center, once the pelican was healthy enough, it was released back on Shem Creek.
According to the Moultrie News article, unfortunately, most birds do not have the same outcome. Many birds are found in conditions that result in fatality. Typically, the Center for Birds of Prey see entanglements in trash. This human created issue can only be resolved by humans. By becoming aware of the repercussions that stem from outdoor sports, individuals in the community can begin properly disposing waste and fishing lines or nets that they have created. The article highlights, “communities have responded to this situation by creating fishing line disposal sites along piers and boat landings.”
The pelican is not the only feathered friend that has faced conflict created by human contact. In Oregon, logging (the cutting, skidding, on-site processing of trees) has become a major threat to marbled murrelets - a threatened species that may soon be declared endangered. The community could further protect the species through awareness and petitioning. Communities can come together to determine how to save the marbled murrelet and manage their forests.
Man has created conflict and has potential to resolve it. By sharing stories that raise an awareness for circumstances that are often overlooked, humans can work toward bettering wildlife by taking small steps and remaining mindful.
Brown Pelican Michael L. Baird
B. Childress Fishing Boats in Shem Creek
Logging Area in the North Oregon Coast Range: