Watering cans, swimming pools, hollow shafts: “cavity traps”, a nightmare for small animals

You encounter them in public, when hiking, and there may be some in your garden. Trap gaps are found throughout the territory, in the city as well as in the countryside. These smooth and slippery walled vertical holes, whether elevated or at ground level, inadvertently cause the death of countless small animals.

“The most telling example are telephone or electric poles, describes Etienne Colette-Dangos, project manager at the Association for the Protection of Birds (LPO) in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. When they are hollow and unplugged from above, some birds enter to live in their nests and unfortunately find themselves Trapped inside, he dies there in most cases of hunger, thirst or exhaustion.

All wild animals are concerned

Highland cavities are particularly victims among cave-dwelling birds, which seek hollows to make their nests or take shelter. Those at ground level pose a greater threat to insects, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. But the problem of trap cavities appears to all animals, not just wild animals: “We can imagine cats falling into these cavities,” warns Etienne Cole d’Angus.

À une autre échelle mais suivant le même principe, les abreuvoirs pour le bétail, piscines, anciens lavoirs et bassins de décantation, lorsqu’ils n’ont pas de système ire, les’ s’l én quientna à le enté à néchénappentato He drinks. In a report published in 2010, the General Council of Isere reported on this subject some ominous observations: “You can imagine the effect of such traps when you look at the innumerable claw marks on the 300-meter perimeter of a basin at the water’s edge, and when we find rodents that have Laying out its joints by desperate attempts to get out of this hell.” Anti-drowning kits, which serve as exit ramps for fallen animals, can be easily purchased or made. They are still of little use.

There is currently no estimate for the number of animals killed each year in France by these unintended traps. “Do we need more data? Of course, you get to know Anne-Laure Dugué, National Head of Wildlife Reflection at LPO. This could be useful, even if it is on a municipal scale or a specific type of location, for example sports facilities.”

Actions you save

The good news is that these traps are easy to identify and neutralize. “Once we understand that any cavity with vertical walls, whether it is high or on the ground, can be dangerous if it is open from above, then we can act on our own,” encouraged Anne-Laure Dugué. LPO France provides a solutions sheet on their website, which summarizes the main types of trap cavities and the best ways to defuse them. Be careful, however, not to block the cavity when live animals are present, especially nurseries during the breeding season. This would be an indictment of the cavity…and the animals with it.

If you discover a trap but can’t get to it, the LPO recommends contacting the owner (individual, community or company), to inform them of the problem and suggest a permanent solution. “I have intervened several times with EDF and Storengy, says Anne-Laure Dugué. LPO also organizes days in the field with local authorities, to raise awareness for the green space department or the architecture department. These technical services are required to work on buildings and supervise construction sites, but we We know that construction sites are likely to be places with many cavities.”

In support of these individual gestures and local mobilization, some organizational victories have allowed the formation of these cavities and other pitfalls. Since 2016, the installation of telephone poles, hollow, non-conductive avalanche poles and anti-slip nets has been prohibited by law. In 2008, the mobilization of several associations, including the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals (ASPAS) and the Hedgehog Sanctuary, modified the lids of McDonald’s ice cream tubs. Attracted by the sweet smell of leftover ice cream at the bottom of the bowl, the hedgehogs rushed inside without being able to extract it.

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