Written by Roxci Bevis, DRBIPA Program Coordinator – June 17, 2019
Many people feed wildlife without realizing the negative effects this can cause for both animals and people. Sometimes we want to see animals up close and encourage them over to us with food or think the animals are hungry because it feels like they are begging for food. other times, feeding the animals is just an accident, like when we leave food waste behind without disposing of it properly.
Even though it is tempting to feed the wildlife in our parks it is not safe to do so and here are just a few reasons why:
- “People” food is not healthy for animals and can make them sick, especially bread and popcorn, common items people feed to birds.
- It makes animals lose their natural fear of humans leading them to gather in recreational and residential areas which poses many safety concerns.
- Feeding wildlife near cars contributes to animals feeling safe near moving vehicles, getting hit more often – and also leads to animals breaking into people’s cars to try and find food.
- When food is provided regularly animals may become dependent on it without finding their own source of food leading to young animals not learning how to find natural food sources on their own. If the human food source is removed the animals may starve.
Feeding wild animals, whether on purpose or not, does more harm than good. This is one of the reasons DRBIPA Volunteers work so hard to conserve our parks, to ensure the natural habitat for wild animals is protected now and in the future.
The best way we can help our environment and all our animal friends is to support native plant growth, and protect natural shelter for animals along with their natural food and water supply. Let’s keep wildlife wild!