But it’s hard, I get that. When you see a cute little chipmunk or bird sitting on the edge of the picnic table, it’s hard not to reach out with a potato chip in your fingers and see if it will approach and eat from your hand.
As fun and exciting as this sounds, we shouldn’t feed the wildlife, and it doesn’t matter how tame or friendly or cute they are. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
Wild animals needs to stay wild. When animals are fed they become used to people. They become tame, they lose their wildness, and that can make them vulnerable.
Most wild animals already have access to the food that they need to stay alive. They don’t really need us feeding them. And, let’s face it, a lot of what we feed them (junk food) is not good for them.
Fed wildlife lose the ability to find food on their own. If it’s easy for an animal to eat picnic area and campsite trash then what’s the point in even finding food on their own?
Sometimes areas with abundant food trash attract animals and increase population rates. This can increase the spread of disease among animals and disrupt the whole natural ebb and flow of life.
Animals that are normally passive can become aggressive once they are accustomed to foraging out of the garbage or out of our hands.
It’s just a bad idea to get up close and personal with animals that can carry diseases like rabies.
Before you toss a few nuts at a chipmunk, please take a moment and consider the implications and long-term effects on the animal and the delicate ecosystem it lives in, and that we are just visiting.
I understand that maybe you’re just trying to be kind. But we can be kind in other ways by leaving the outdoors better than how we found it. We can clean up trash. We can work to restore rivers and streams. We can make their habitats a better place for them to live in and for us to visit.
Let’s leave the wildlife alone no matter how cute they are and keep our snacks to ourselves.
The only wildlife we should be feeding is our kids!
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