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Is urban wildlife in Fairview going, going, gone to the dogs?

April 17, 2019

One of my first (and worst) squirrel photos of 2019; taken in an alley off Birch St. and 10th Ave.

For this, my first Fairview critter post of 2019, I have to again complain about the ongoing scarcity of four-legged urban fauna, such as skunks, raccoons and (to a lesser degree) squirrels, across the neighbourhood. Excluding dogs of course, which are, if anything, too plentiful.

And again, for lack of any better explanation, I blame the visibly shrinking number of the former on the growing abundance of the latter.

When raccoons roamed the alleys of Fairview. A photo from June of 2013.

As recently as four years ago skunks and raccoons were quite a regular sight across the Fairview neighbourhood—at least after the sun had gone down. Squirrels, for their part, were likewise abundantly visible during the day shift, as it were.

Things have changed. More than a year has gone by since I last saw a raccoon anywhere near the South Granville area and about six months since I crossed paths with a skunk.

Taking a spring whirl with a young squirrel

Barely keeping pace with the speeding squirrel.

Happily I’m seeing squirrels this spring. I saw two young ones yesterday (April 17th) and I even managed to photograph one of them, albeit badly.

This was in an alley off Birch Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue.

The squirrel stops—too quickly for my camera to focus.

A long, high wall, backing a condo on 11th, helped to somewhat constrain the running rodent and gave me a fighting chance to get a good closeup.

But although I came close, the squirrel was still too fast for me.

Missed it by that much!

I may be alone in doing so but I greatly regret the absence of skunks and raccoons. I especially miss the feeling of variety and random liveliness that they bring to the streets and alleys.

As far as I’m concerned, no quantity of domiciled dogs on leashes—out three times a day for a walk and a poop—can make up for the normally, naturally-occurring, four-legged species of wild little critters that appear to have been displaced by said canines.

A sort of cat, seen April 16th in a Fairview alley.

And in the absence of raccoons and skunks, I am choosing to make up the difference in this post with photos of fake animals, rather than dime-a-dozen domesticated dogs.

You’ve heard of pigs in clover? Here’s a “pig’ I found April 15th in a recycling paper bin.

Please do not get me wrong. It is not that I dislike dogs; I do like them and they have their day in my blog from time to time.

It’s just that I do not think that I like them at the expense or exclusion of raccoons and skunks! Click the images to enlarge them.

4 Comments
  1. Kevin Dale McKeown permalink

    We have a plethora of squirrels, black and grey, here in the West End, but the numbers of racoons and skunks have dwindled in recent years. I wonder if that also may be due to the incredible number of folks out conducting doggie walks thrice a day. Good point.

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    • I would hope Stanley Park could act as a reservoir for the West End’s (near) wild critters. It’s true that squirrels are not actually scarce in Fairview, the way skunks and raccoons are. But even squirrel numbers seem significantly down compared to 2013, when I began this blog.

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  2. Kate permalink

    I think all the raccoons are in my neighbourhood (Douglas Park). We had a family of them living in our back yard, and there is evidence of them digging!

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    • Thanks. I haven’t visited Douglas Park for a while but I will now. Its is only about four blocks beyond the southeast edge of Fairview (and my regular ambit).

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