Wondrous Wildlife
By Vern and Lori Gieger
Live and Let Live

     As a result of the recent announcements published by Profepa (Federal Bureau of Environmental Protection, a division of Semarnat) regarding environmental laws, we have received several questions from individuals, who still didn’t understand the laws. Basically put, it is a federal crime, to do the following without a permit from Semarnat: trap, poison, keep in your possession, buy or sell any wild specie of animal, that is endemic to Mexico, rare, under special protection, threatened or endanger of extinction.
     Due to the recent rash of blatant violations of the above-mentioned laws, the foreign community is being monitored much more closely. Believe us you don’t want to be the one who is used to set an example. That could result in imprisonment, and/or several thousand dollars in fines, or even deportation. Everyone, foreigners included, need to respect these laws. Much more is at stake than just legal complications.
     Morally speaking, we do not have the right to kill wildlife simply because they are not to our liking or because they cause a little inconvenience. We do not have the exclusive right to life on this planet. We must realize this is their home too and everyone should have respect and compassion for other living creatures. Unlike people they don’t construct walls, fences and shop at a grocery store; they are just struggling to survive in what little habitat is left. When we invade their habitat, we must expect that sooner or later they are going to wander into what we regard as our territory.
     There are benign things one can do to discourage their presence. First and foremost don’t leave your pets’ food outside. Have your gardener pick up fruit that has fallen from trees. Eliminate hiding places in your yard such as brush piles or building materials. Most nocturnal animals don’t like light consider motion lights or leave a patio light on at night. Hang a wind chime or two to make a little noise.
     What about a snake in your yard? The answer should be obvious—do nothing, just leave it alone. If it finds nothing to eat, it will leave. Which would you prefer, a snake in your yard, or inundation of rats and mice? Could it be poisonous? Some seem to think we are over run with venomous snakes; we are not. There are 89 species of snakes in the interior of Jalisco; only two are venomous. One may encounter a rattlesnake or a coral snake in Jalisco. The coral snakes are in danger of extinction; you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than seeing a true coral snake. We have been rescuing wildlife for ten years and have never encountered a true coral snake. We have received several calls from people who thought they had found a coral; all proved to be harmless milk snakes.      However, if it is causing you great distress we will relocate it.
     On a positive note, some asked what they should do if they encounter injured or orphaned wildlife. With any injury medical attention should be sought immediately; a few hours can mean the difference between life and death. If you are unable to reach us, most animals can be easily picked up or wrapped in a towel and put in a box. The following veterinarians have our phone number on file and will contact us: Pepe Magaña, Luz Maria Perez, Ladron de Guevara and Delfino Hernandez. If you would like to donate to the cost of the treatment, you can give directly to the veterinarian; if not we will take care of incurred costs.
     The same applies to orphaned wildlife. First one needs to determine if it is truly orphaned. The parents may temporarily leave their young unattended for a variety of reasons. If the baby is thin, dirty, very young and wandering about alone, it probably is orphaned and needs help immediately. Baby birds are bit more complicated. If possible, they should be returned to their nest. The next best thing to do is make a man-made nest and place as close to their nest as possible. Be sure to place it so that it is protected from the elements. Never place in direct sunlight. The majority of the time, when the parents feel it is safe, they will return and care for the baby.
     Once you take the time and have the compassion to save the life of a wild animal, you never look at them quite the same.