Fort Leonard Wood DES: Knowing How to Live Along with Wildlife Matters | Article




A family of groundhogs peek out from under their shed on June 6 at Fort Leonard Wood.  Spotting small wildlife is common this time of year, according to the Fort Leonard Wood conservation law enforcement team.



A family of groundhogs peek out from under their shed on June 6 at Fort Leonard Wood. Spotting small wildlife is common this time of year, according to the Fort Leonard Wood conservation law enforcement team.
(Image source: Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)

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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Whether it’s nice and misty, sticky and slippery, or big and hairy, Fort Leonard Wood is teeming with wildlife. As summer approaches, human encounters with animals become more likely.

“Anyone spending a nice summer day outdoors at Fort Leonard Wood has undoubtedly encountered their fair share of mosquitoes, ticks, songbirds and squirrels,” said Eric Magoon, a police sergeant with the Directorate of Emergency Preservation Services Law Enforcement Division. “There is a myriad of wildlife that is Fort Leonard Wood’s home, as well as a variety of reptiles and amphibians.”

Wildlife protection is not limited to hunting or recycling rules and regulations; Knowing how to live alongside wildlife is also important.

Sick or injured wildlife

While the first instinct when seeing an injured or sick animal may be to help, Magoon said these cases are best left to the experts. Any injured wildlife must be reported to the Deputy Marshal’s office at 573-596-6141.

Magoon said trying to help could have consequences for people and animals.

“It is important that people do not try to manipulate or provide assistance to wildlife,” he said. “While someone’s intentions may be purely out of concern, wildlife just doesn’t understand that, and there is a high possibility that wildlife will attempt to defend itself as well as the risk of transmission (a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals).”

abandoned animals

Seeing a young animal alone can also seem like a concern to a well-meaning human, Magoon said, but usually there’s no need for action.

“If the animal obstructs traffic or affects military activities, the PMO must be notified,” he said. “If it is determined that the animal may need to be relocated, the PMO will send a game warden to relocate the wildlife. If not, the best thing you can do is leave it alone and give it plenty of space.”

consequences of the intervention

It’s important to remember that all wild animals are protected or managed, according to Magoon.

“Wildlife harassment is a violation of Missouri’s wildlife law, and this could result in a citation,” he said.

This includes protected native snakes, according to the Missouri Department of Life Conservation. The Missouri Wildlife Code treats snakes, lizards, and most turtles as non-game, meaning there is no hunting season—killing or otherwise harassing snakes is illegal.

Wildlife feeding

Feeding wildlife is also dangerous to animals and humans alike. Magon said it could teach them to associate humans with food, which would increase the likelihood of being attacked or bitten and spreading disease.

Bears at Fort Leonard Wood

According to the MDC, the black bear is the only bear found in Missouri, and one of the largest and heaviest mammals in the state. Most of them live south of Highway 44, including Pulaski County, but they can be found further north from time to time. Bear sightings are not unheard of at Fort Leonard Wood.

For those who came across a black bear during installation, Magoon had some advice.

He said, “If you’re on foot, it’s important that you don’t run.” “Make yourself look as big as possible by stretching out your arms and making lots of shrieking sounds.”

Magoon said the chances of encountering a black bear can be reduced by securing any food or garbage that must be stored outdoors, and by making a lot of noise during outdoor rebuilding.

The MDC requested that all sightings of the black bear be reported on their website.

Continuous preservation

The first step in wildlife protection and conservation is education, and Magoon recommended taking some of the free classes and webinars MDC offers.

The United States has the most unique and successful conservation programs in the world, Magoon said, and we are fortunate to live in a place where wildlife and wild places are recognized as public resources—it takes effort in all parts to preserve the wild. Fun places for posterity.

“Without continued efforts and support from the public, this precious resource will be exploited and eventually disappear,” Magoun said. “It is our duty to ensure that our wildlife and wild places are preserved, so that they can continue to be used.”

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