Many of us, myself included, have opted out of big city life in favour of what we hope is a more tranquil existence in the suburbs. All around the larger Metropolitan London area, communities such as Chelmsford are growing rapidly, as people try to escape the chaos and pollution of central London in favour of a slightly more relaxed lifestyle. However, as our communities continue to grow, we are beginning to encroach on some native habitats and the intersection of humans and animals can take on some fairly bizarre twists and turns.
I’m Sorry, Is it Rush Hour?
In some ways, this is no laughing matter. As what were once unspoiled natural lands have been turned into beautiful suburban plots, both flora and fauna are displaced. It thus happens that many animals find themselves either without a secure place to nurture their offspring or even find food. As a result, they wind up straying into metropolitan areas, not by choice, but mostly due to confusion or even disorientation.
It was thus that a deer found itself in the middle of downtown Chelmsford in the middle of rush hour last year. Naturally, the poor animal was panicked by this urban environment. It wasn’t ready for the asphalt, buses or cars and to a large extent we were not prepared to have a deer galloping down high street during rush hour. So what happens when the two species collide? Usually, the animals get the worst of it. In this case however, a poor woman was knocked over by the oncoming deer, and unfortunately received a black eye and a few facial lacerations as a result. But the deer escaped unharmed and literally vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. Hopefully, it was reunited with its family and was able to tell some bedside stories about its adventures in the big city.
As the metropolitan population booms and people continue to expand outwards, looking for flats to rent in Chelmsford, we can expect more close encounters of the animal kind. In Clacton-on-Sea, a lion was reported at the edge of town. Police looked and looked, but in the end nothing was found. Chances are it was a large domestic cat, a really large domestic cat. But it goes to show how we are going to continue to be on a collision course with the natural habitats which we are beginning to overtake. Sometimes, the encounters can be bizarre. Take the case of an emu, a native Australian 4 foot bird, which was found wandering around Barnstaple early in the morning. It was naturally in a state of panic, but police were able to ultimately place it in a van and return it to its rightful owner. What other types of wildlife can we expect to see wandering around our neighborhoods in the future? Only time will tell, but chances are it will be interesting.
Creating Safe Haven
It wouldn’t be a bad idea, as we continue our expansions into suburban areas, to create wildlife refuges or other off-limits areas where our native animals can live in peace and undisturbed. After all, it is their planet too. We all need to learn how to share it equitably.