There are few things cuter than a young duck, raccoon, or other wild animal sighting, and that’s exactly what compels humans to try to get closer by feeding them. Most individuals likely view this as a way to bond with wildlife, or to help the creature survive. However, there are not nearly as many positive aspects to feeding them as there are negative. By feeding wild animals, humans can actually decrease their survival rate. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons to avoid feeding wildlife.
Animals will lose their natural fear of humans if fed on a regular basis.
Animals are naturally afraid of humans because history has conditioned them to realize that we are predators. When these animals are fed by humans, they begin to lose that natural fear over time. This causes them to approach humans with less caution and more trust, which could be a real boon to hunters, but obviously dangerous to the animals. There is also the possibility that the animal will attack, since it no longer perceives humans as a threat.
Animals and humans have very different dietary needs in order to survive. Humans don’t often take this into consideration when they feed wildlife and can do far more harm than good. It’s especially important not to feed animals any form of fast food, as heavily processed foods with artificial ingredients can shorten the lifespan of the creature.
Reproduction rates are affected by human food.
If there is insufficient food to feed the young, animals will not reproduce. It’s nature’s way of protecting the future offspring from starving to death. Unfortunately, when humans ignore the warnings against feeding wildlife, the animal is deceived into believing there is enough food to allow them to reproduce. If the food source is taken away, there will no longer be enough to support the parents and a growing brood. This results in many deaths of juvenile animals, who are integral to the production of the next generation of their species.
Birds fly south for the winter because there is more food readily available in warmer climates. When an abundance of human food is provided, birds no longer feel the need to travel. This trend results in hundreds of sick animals who had to resort to eating rotting food or inappropriate items they’re unable to digest.
Animals don’t learn the proper skills needed in order to survive.
Animals are taught how to survive by their parents, then sent off into the wild to find food on their own. Although they may seem incredibly vulnerable when you stumble across them in the wild, their hardships and the skills they are learning are what will equip them for survival for the rest of their lives. Sadly, if animals are consistently fed by humans rather than the parents, they never learn the proper way to forage for food. This can lead to the animal’s death once it has been separated from its parents.