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Letter: Brake for wildlife

The purpose of this letter is to ask everyone to keep wildlife in mind when driving, especially now when mothers are raising young. We have severely fragmented wildlife habitat, so that even the smallest creature is forced to cross roads to carry out its life activities. We are obligated to drive cautiously and carefully. One moment of distraction could cost a creature its life.
In the past month, I have heard three stories of animals being hit and left to suffer and die because the person responsible just keeps going. Where is the compassion? People I know have witnessed these events and stopped to help the animals. These animals were a rabbit and her one offspring, an opossum and a turkey poult. The rabbits ran into tall grass and were unable to be found, but one had a severely injured leg. The turkey poult died. The opossum was alive and clearly suffering. She was brought to a vet and it turned out that she was carrying babies in her pouch. The mother was euthanized, but the babies were saved and brought to a wildlife rehabilitator. Had my friend not stopped, who knows how long the mother would have languished on the road and all her babies would have died. These babies were lucky because opossums carry their young with them. They were not left behind in a nest to starve to death or be eaten by predators when their mother did not return.
Roads and cars have made our way of life easier, but have put the lives of a plethora of wild animals in jeopardy daily. From mice and turtles to deer and bears, they all need to cross roads. The least we can do is look out for them.
MAUREEN IPPOLITO
Leverett

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