Feeding wild animals is doing more harm than good. The Ministry of Natural Resources has sent out a notice asking people to stop feeding wildlife. The animals, like bears, are losing their natural fear of people, which means they can get aggressive. The MNR says it can bring animals into residential areas, can spread parasites, and do damage to properties.
From the MNR:
Feeding wildlife can:
- Attract “unwanted” animals to your property, such as predators in search of food
- Cause property damage and costs if animals must be removed, since animals want to live close to food sources
- Increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents, resulting in property damage, injury or death
- Increase the risk that small pets are seen as food by wild animals
- Cause problems for your neighbours, if animals learn to associate humans with food they may become aggressive
- Disrupt animals’ normal travel and migration routes
- Be unhealthy for the animals, since the food people provide is often the wrong kind for wildlife.
Attracting concentrations of wild animals can also:
- Increase the chance of spreading parasites and disease
- Cause damage to the surrounding habitat – including neighbours’ gardens, shrubs and trees.
What can you do to help wildlife?
- Appreciate wildlife from a safe distance. Artificially attracting wild animals to your backyard or home can make them seem like pets – but they’re not.
- Help keep wild animals wild by not approaching, attracting or feeding them.
- Some municipalities may have by-laws that prohibit people from feeding wildlife.
Go online to the Wildlife and Nature Website and the Feeding Wildlife Website for more information.