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Skyrocketing rates of wildlife shot in residential areas

From one or two a year to more than 50 a year, The West Sound Wildlife Shelter is caring for an increasing number of animals that have been shot in residential neighborhoods. (Photo: West Sound Wildlife Shelter)

Wildlife managers say they’re noticing a disturbing trend in Western Washington. The number of animals shot in residential neighborhoods has been skyrocketing.

Mike Pratt with the West Sound Wildlife Shelter has been working in wildlife rehabilitation for 20 years. He tells KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh Show the problem of animals being shot in suburban areas has increased 50-fold in the last two years.

“In the past we would usually get one or two cases in a year where animals have been shot, but over the last two years we’ve been averaging over 50 a year. So, we’re seeing a big, dramatic increase in this,” says Pratt.

The shelter is treating animals with pellet gun injuries and some that have been hit by shotgun spray. Pratt thinks it has to do with people feeling threatened or annoyed by animals that really aren’t hurting anyone.

“A lot of these animals are protected. Everything from otters, ravens, osprey, squirrels, vultures, eagles, songbirds,” says Pratt.

The animals being shot are also leaving behind more orphaned wildlife than ever before. Pratt says when they find an injured or dead animal, it’s not unusual to find a nest or burrow of babies somewhere nearby.

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