Flying Lanterns, Fearless Foxes & Gypsy Moths
What do these have in common you ask? They are all local environmental concerns.
Also known as “sky lanterns” or “fire lanterns” they are not safe in cottage country! FOCA encourages all of its members to help raise awareness of the risks of releasing flying lanterns. These lanterns were officially banned in Hastings Highlands with the help of the LSPPOA in May 2017.
The lanterns sold online and at retail stores, feature a lightweight metal frame that enables it to reach heights of 1,000 feet with flight times of 15 to 20 minutes. The risk exists when these lanterns return to the ground still alight. The lantern by design is flammable, so the potential for fire is imminent especially if the lantern lands on flammable vegetation, forests, power lines or on cottage roofs or boats in the middle of the night.
We currently have foxes lying in the road and approaching cars and people. The negative impacts of this are many. Feeding wildlife breaks their natural wild hunting and foraging habits. Habituation happens when an animal is exposed to a stimulus so many times, it loses sensitivity or stops viewing the stimulus as a threat.
A typical fox would view humans as a threat.
But because of their long-term exposure, some foxes no longer fear humans or vehicles. They live too close to the road, trotting out to approach cars. This puts these predators at risk, especially the younger ones — become common roadway casualties.
Predators and prey usually balance each other out on a landscape, but the balance is easily disrupted when we feed predators. With extra food from us, their numbers can increase and become artificially high, potentially outstripping their supply of natural foods.
They are invasive and have been spotted in Lake St. Peter. The larvae (caterpillars) feed on crown foliage of a wide range of hardwood and some softwood trees, which makes it a defoliating forest pest of real concern - especially for oak trees.
Examine your outdoor household items on a regular basis during the spring and summer months. Items such as furniture, camping equipment, trailers, and firewood can harbour egg masses.
If caterpillars or larvae are found, wear gloves when handling the insects, as their hairs can cause skin irritation on humans.
If eggs are detected, scrape the fuzzy, tan-coloured masses off of the equipment they are affixed to, and destroy them immediately by crushing the eggs or by submerging the eggs into a bucket filled with water and household bleach or soap for at least two days. After two days, discard the solution and egg mixture.
Never move firewood.