How to help wildlife in heat waves and drought conditions? Here are 5 actionable tips to protect wildlife.
We love to feed wild birds and provide safe sanctuaries in our gardens, but not much has been written about how to help wildlife in heat waves and droughts. To help them, it is important to understand the impact of extremely hot weather conditions on wildlife and provide actionable tips to help protect and support vulnerable species.
Understanding the Impact of Heat Waves on Wildlife
Heat waves and drought lead to limited water availability, increasing the risk of dehydration and heat-related health issues for wildlife.
When animals are dehydrated, they lose fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to a number of health problems, including heat stroke, organ failure, and death. Another big problem for wild creatures is heat Stress. Heat stress occurs when animals are unable to regulate their body temperature. This can happen when the ambient temperature is too high or when the animal is unable to find shade or water to cool down.
Extreme weather conditions also can result in the loss of natural habitats and food sources for wildlife. This disruption can have long-lasting effects on their populations, so it is very important to know how to help wildlife in heat waves and droughts.
When animals lose their habitat due to fire or loss of wetlands due to drought, they may be forced to move to new areas, which can be dangerous when crossing roads or interacting with humans and domestic animals such as pets. They may also be exposed to predators or other threats in new areas.
Some species may alter their migration patterns or exhibit changes in behavior to adapt to heat waves and drought. Understanding these shifts is crucial for effective wildlife conservation. Some animals may migrate to cooler areas during heat waves or droughts. This can be a risky strategy, as it may expose them to new predators or other threats.
Some animals may exhibit behavioral changes to cope with heat waves and drought. For example, they may become more active at night, or they may seek out shade during the day.
5 Tips to Help Wildlife in Heat Waves and Drought
- Providing Water Sources: Set up shallow water dishes or bird baths in your garden and ensure wildlife can access water can help wildlife in heat waves. Regularly refill them to keep them fresh and clean. A drip jug can help keep it full even when you are not home to refill it, and the sound of drips of trickling water attracts many varieties of birds and animals. Even in public areas like parks and town squares can benefit from a reliable water source.
- Creating Shaded Areas: Planting trees and creating shaded areas in your yard can provide relief from the scorching heat and help wildlife in heat waves. This will attract wildlife seeking shelter and protection. Ideally, plant these areas close to a pond to provide safe shelter from predators. Then, they can stay close to the water source.
- Planting Native Vegetation: Native plants are more resilient to drought conditions and provide food and shelter to help wildlife in heat waves. When planted with care and the same planning as you would in a traditional garden, they can be a beautiful addition to a home garden but require far less in the way of care and water. They attract native pollinators, and their seeds to fruit will attract more wild birds. Consider planting native species in your garden to support local conservation efforts.
- Avoiding Harmful Practices: Refrain from using pesticides and herbicides, as these can contaminate water sources and harm wildlife. Opt for natural alternatives such as Indian runner ducks to maintain a healthy ecosystem and help wildlife in heat waves and droughts.
- Report Injured or Distressed Wildlife: If you encounter injured or distressed wildlife, do not touch the animal (unless it is in immediate danger). Instead, contact local wildlife rescue organizations or authorities. They can provide the necessary care and rehabilitation or tell you how to best deal with the situation, such as providing water or moving it into a cool shaded spot.
Protecting wildlife during heat waves and drought is crucial for maintaining biodiversity and preserving ecosystems. Thankfully, organizations like The National Wildlife Federation are working non-stop to protect wild places and wild creatures, but we can help too. If everyone with a home garden followed the tips provided, a large positive impact would occur. We all have a part to play; anyone can contribute to the conservation of vulnerable species. We have the power and ability to help vulnerable creatures and ensure they will be protected for years to come.