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7 Reasons Why you Shouldn't Feed Wildlife

Post Date:03/04/2017 12:02 AM

We all have seen it happen. A neighbor puts out a salt lick for the deer, a mom gives her children some stale bread to feed ducks in a pond, people even put out cans of cat food for a family of raccoons. It all
seems so innocent but eventually, someone pays the price. Here are the top seven reasons why you shouldn't be feeding wildlife:

  1. Overpopulation
    Providing an artificial food source causes adult wildlife to produce large families that the natural food supply can’t support. Overpopulation can lead to starvation and diseases.

  2. They shouldn't eat human food.
    Animals have specialized diets and can die from the wrong foods. If a baby animal receives the wrong diet, even if it’s just for a day or two, it can lead to permanent bone and muscle damage.

  3. Disease.
    The Missouri Department of Conservation discourages providing grain, salt products, minerals and other consumable products to attract deer to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease
    (CWD). CWD is a fatal neurological disease that infects deer, has no vaccine or cure and is 100% fatal. CWD is spread from deer to deer when they gather in large groups such as feeding sites.

  4. They no longer fear humans.
    Feeding wildlife causes them to lose their natural fear of us.

  5. The butterfly effect.
    Feeding will change behavior which has the potential for catastrophic results. It can prevent a species from migrating and can cause harmful interaction between species that usually wouldn’t compete for food.

  6. You can get hurt.
    Wildlife often do not know when food stops and fingers begin.

  7. Property damage.
    Providing food to wild life in residential areas often leads to property damage and bugs.

Backyard bird feeders do provide supplemental nutrition for wild birds and does not appear to disrupt natural migration and population patterns. However, it also comes with some risks. Avoid feeding them
by hand. Set up a feeder where you can watch them from a distance. Keep cats inside. Clean feeders regularly with a 9-to-1 bleach solution. Think about providing some natural food sources instead. Plant some native bushes, trees or flowers.

If you just can’t stop feeding cute wild life, consider doing it in a safe setting. The Wildlife Rescue Center of St. Louis is located in Ballwin and is always looking for dedicated volunteers to help. This will allow
you to get up close with wildlife, assist with rehabilitation and help them return to their natural habitats. Contact them at volunteers@mowildlife.org or call (636) 394-1880.

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