Protecting Urban Wildlife
by Jane Marsh
As more people move into cities for economic or residential opportunities, the local animal populations and wildlife begin to suffer. City officials and residents must take steps to prevent environmental damage by making cities a haven for diverse ecosystems. These are a few ways everyone can get involved to protect the planet while urban areas expand.
1. Focus on Clean Water Efforts
People will always need access to clean water, but they may produce polluted water as a result. Cities are especially likely to pollute their waterways because the potential for pollutants increases with the growing population.
Wildlife will leave the area or die out if there’s no clean drinking water outside of pipes directing clean water to homes and businesses. Clean water efforts like pollution reduction bills and frequent chemical testing will ensure that everyone in the area has something to drink and animals have safe water habitats or access points.
2. Reduce Airborne Pollutants
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urban areas experience more significant amounts of airborne pollutants than rural areas due to the increased number of automobiles and other machinery burning fossil fuels in a condensed location. Wildlife suffers from those pollutants too, so any efforts to convert cities or urban buildings to green energy will make those places safer for living beings in those places.
3. Optimize Animal Control Services
Animals will find their way into cities for various reasons. Whether they’re outrunning the effects of climate change, seeking food, or finding shelter, urban residents will run into unwanted animals. If animal control services aren’t involved with making cities a haven for wildlife, they may contribute to the decreasing animal populations due to mistreatment or putting animals down.
When residents need wildlife removed from their homes, businesses, or city streets, animal control services can optimize their responses by letting animals go in approved locations that are the best places for natural habitats. The animals will be much happier and stay where experts drop them off, so their populations thrive more easily within those designated havens.
4. Build With Sustainable Wood
Cities are continually growing, so construction is a permanent part of daily life. However, new builds harm the environment by taking away natural habitats within city limits and wherever the construction companies find their building materials.
Construction experts can avoid removing local forests and wildlife habitats by outsourcing sustainable wood materials for future projects. City officials could also draft laws and regulations to encourage this business practice by passing tax benefits for eco-friendly sites. It would reduce the harmful effect of city expansion without forcing construction to stop altogether.
5. Grow More Native Plants
You might think about deer and fish when you imagine wildlife, but insects are part of that group too. Cement cities and residential areas often erase insect havens by uprooting plant species and replacing them with plants from other locations.
Insects need local plant species to thrive, so city residents, landscaping companies and state environmental offices should focus on keeping them in the area. Planting the right flowers in window boxes or along city streets will help insects remain in urban areas because they have the right sources of food.
6. Establish Public Gardens
Public gardens alongside roadways or within parks are a great way to make cities a haven for wildlife. They tackle many issues that keep animals away by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen that living organisms need in urban areas with airborne pollutants. Gardens could also become organic food sources for city food banks and utilize all-natural fertilizers to reduce chemicals in water runoff.
Insects need local plant species to thrive, so city residents, landscaping companies and state environmental offices should focus on keeping them in the area. Planting the right flowers in window boxes or along city streets will help insects remain in urban areas because they have suitable food sources.
7. Convert Unused Properties
There are always unused properties within city limits. Empty malls and abandoned houses could easily transform into grassy lots that are havens for wildlife. City officials would have to pass regulations confirming when lots would become subject to dismantlement and transform into places for animals to live, eat and rest.
8. Enforce Stricter Animal Protection Laws
People don’t move to cities to start hunting animals as their new hobby, but animals still die in urban areas without strict protection laws. Residents may not care about running over animals on busy roads or taking them out when wildlife shows up on their property. Stricter protection laws with fines or jail time for anyone who hurts protected species would be an excellent way to make urban settings safer for wildlife.
Make Cities Havens for Wildlife
Anyone interested in making cities a haven for wildlife can use tips like these to get involved or petition for change. When people start thinking about animals and the environment at individual and city-government levels, wildlife populations will have much better places to live alongside their urban neighbors.
Article by Jane Marsh
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of
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