Going wild in the city

At first glnce, it’s a scene that plays out daily in cities across America. A U.S. Postal Service carrier wearing a royal blue bucket hat steps out of his mail truck and strides across the street, letters in hand. That much is unremarkable. But this postman either doesn’t notice or doesn’t seem to care that a hefty black bear, likely a young male, is sitting on his haunches a few yards away, vigorously scratching his shedding winter coat.

Immediately to the left, Interstate 240 roars behind a chain-link fence, apparently just white noise to the bruin, which eventually lopes down the sidewalk deeper into this neighborhood barely a half mile from downtown Asheville, North Carolina…

While Black Bears have reclaimed about half their former range and now live in some 40 states, coyotes—native to the Great Plains—have taken the U.S. by storm in recent decades. They now can be found in every state except Hawaii and most major cities. The metropolis most synonymous with the urban coyote is Chicago, home to as many as 4,000 of the animals…

Sarah Benson-Amram presented raccoons, coyotes, and skunks with a box equipped with a button or foot pedal that, when pressed, releases food. After the animals figured out how to get the food, the researchers would switch the buttons and pedals, forcing them to tweak their strategy. Most of the raccoons solved the problem on the first night, while only one of six coyotes engaged with the box—and not until the 44th night of testing. Once the coyote was comfortable engaging with the object, it could win the prize just as well as the raccoons and skunks…

Until recently, urban wildlife was mostly ignored in scientific research. This is partly because such species are considered pests unworthy of our attention—or not wildlife at all.

“We live on a planet that’s rapidly urbanizing, and it’s silly for us to say, Oh, we don’t care about animals in urban landscapes,” says Seth Magle, director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. “Whether we like it or not, we live with wildlife.”

Time to start learning how to get along with your new neighbors, folks!

Two juveniles break into a bank

Juvenile raccoons, that is…

…A pair of young raccoons were spotted inside a branch of the Peninsula Bank when a client saw the mischievous animals while withdrawing money from the ATM outside in the early morning.
At first, the man thought the raccoons were merely a pair of stuffed animals. But he quickly realized that they were actually wild animals rummaging through the bank’s empty office.

Once news of the furry bandits reached bank officials, they called in animal rescuers from the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA.

By the time the rescue team arrived at the bank, the two juvenile raccoons had already caused a mess. Trash cans had been turned over, paper documents were all over the floor, and a computer monitor was even knocked down. The bandits themselves had made their way into the office breakroom where they found their loot: a tin of almond cookies.

Photos were taken from the ATM where a customer making an after-hours deposit noticed the intruders inside the bank.