The industrial site where I work in North Dakota is out in the middle of nowhere. The animals that we employees see at this site are, in alphabetical order: badgers, bats, cats, coyote, deer, foxes, gophers, hawks, mice, owls, pheasants, rabbits, skunks, and occasionally a wolverine.
The corporation that operates this industrial site has a written policy that all employees and subcontractors are to not interfere with the wildlife at this site. In particular, they do not want anyone feeding the animals, leaving food out for animals, or leaving garbage outside that would attract animals.
I have worked at this site for almost three years now. What I noticed right away is that two to three different herds of deer like to stay on the site property during the day, because the deer realized that there is no hunting allowed on this property. The deer just go and find some place quiet to sit down on site during the day, and they are accustomed to no one bothering them on site.
Likewise, cats, deer, foxes, pheasants, rabbits, and skunks like to hang around the site, not too far from the workers, because they realized that there was no hunting allowed on this property, and that larger predators like coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions do not want to come this close to people, so they feel more safe here.
In the early morning, evening, and at night, when there are very few people on site, some of the animals will stop by our office trailer and look inside, or come inside. The animals that just come to look at us and see what we are doing are: badgers, deer, foxes, hawks, pheasants, rabbits, and occasionally coyotes. Yes, they come right up to the door or window and look inside.
The animals which have actually come inside are bats, cats, and skunks, and probably some others which I have forgotten about. Keep in mind, that it is site policy to not interfere with animals, to neither encourage them to become tame, nor chase them away. If the animals become bored or curious and want to go look to see what people are doing, we are not supposed to interfere with the animals.
My co-workers usually enjoy seeing the particular individual animals which visit us regularly like the cats, or occasionally the badger. My co-workers are suspicious of this one fox which is almost as big as a coyote, who sometimes acts like a mischievous domestic dog. But my co-workers are currently all worked-up and outraged by this particular skunk which began visiting us this Spring.
My co-workers have all kinds of allegations and accusations against this skunk, and are constantly talking bad about him and saying mean things. They yell at the skunk, and try to make him go away. They talk about killing the skunk and shooting the skunk.
There is one woman co-worker who hates this skunk so much, you would think that it had killed one of her kids or something. Me, I just walk by or around the skunk, and he continues to meander around sniffing the ground, and he doesn’t try to do anything to me.
What I am worried about, is this woman co-worker is so triggered and hysterical about this skunk, that she is going to start kicking and screaming at it and become so frantic that she will cause this skunk to spray.
I asked her, why do you hate this skunk so much? She said that she grew up on a farm, and that skunks are nasty, they cause problems, they have rabies, everyone hates skunks, they are bad. She got very upset, angry, anxious, and panicked even talking about the skunk.
I said to her, this particular skunk has never done anything to you. Just because one skunk has done something bad, doesn’t make all skunks bad. This is like being prejudiced against Black people. Just because one Black person does something bad, doesn’t mean that all Black people are bad.
Her chest was heaving, she was breathing hard, her blood pressure was up, she was not persuaded in any way that this skunk was not bad. She seemed even more resolved and determined to do something bad to this skunk.
In the following days, I had the door to the office trailer open when it was hot, and the skunk came inside several times per day, and I would tell him to get out, and he would go back outside. Here is a photo of the skunk coming up to me when I was sitting in my chair:
I sent a text message with this photo to my female co-worker who does not like this skunk, and she replied, “Tonight I am going to take care of this skunk once and for all.”
I feel sorry for this skunk. He is a young skunk, he is just trying to find things to eat, and look around. My co-workers do not like him, they conspire against him. The cats do not like this skunk, they stand back and watch him with disgusted looks on their faces, then after a while they run at the skunk trying to make him leave.
This skunk hasn’t done anything wrong. However, if people and the cats keep trying to do something to him, he probably will start spraying, then they will blame him. If everyone would leave this skunk alone, he probably wouldn’t start spraying.