SciSun: Ill-Eagle   Leave a comment

In most of our human environments – whether we know it or not – we are surrounded by wildlife. (Or maybe it’s our lives that are intruding into their environments). From crows to robins to deer to possum to unknown numbers of insects to dozens of species of grey and brown sparrows that even birdwatchers have trouble identifying – the un-official watcher designation is ‘LBB’ for ‘little brown bird’ – humans and wildlife share the same space. And, for many of us, we like to think we help the animals by rescuing ‘abandoned’ babies; chasing away hawks and other natural predators; and putting out food because those animals just look so hungry!

While feeding wildlife is not encouraged, for the health and well-being of the animals in many areas it’s actually against the law to attract, detract, disturb, harass, relocate, or otherwise effect the natural behavior of wildlife unless they are a health risk or threat – and then, any actions usually require someone trained in wildlife care. While some animals such as rats, cockroaches, flies, and feral cats aren’t considered wildlife, known for breeding and spreading disease dangerous to both humans and other animals; familiar animals like squirrels; deer; raccoons; varieties of wild mice; and other species truly are wild creatures (although some are non-native, introduced species which is a whole topic in itself). Unfortunately, often through artificial feeding or habitat construction, these wildlife congregate into large, un-naturally encouraged groups where intra-species diseases – illnesses that effect only that one species; and inter-specific diseases, that can spread between various species including humans – can readily be transmitted within and among populations, leading to suffering and death for the same animals we wanted to help by feeding them – and for other animals we may never see, but affected by transmitted diseases.

Feeding a couple of ducks is all fun and games until the crowd arrives and there are more beaks, than treats.

Feeding a couple of ducks is all fun and games until the crowd arrives and there are more beaks, than treats.

(Feeding backyard birds, however, is usually allowed as long as the feed doesn’t attract unwanted wildlife. Or the birds aren’t endangered or otherwise protected, such as eagles and other threatened species . Of course migratory birds, like robins and the majority of other birds, are protected, but they can usually still be fed. Feeding geese, ducks and other waterfowl is harmful as it could change their migration patterns and crowding could lead to water-born disease. And don’t overfeed any birds, or make them dependent upon human-provided food, which could result in weak and sick birds. Bird feeding rules are generally more like guidelines.)

So, really, just leave wildlife alone and it will be better for all; primarily for the animals, who were doing just fine without our interference; and for the humans who, no matter how much you want to hand-feed that squirrel (have bandages handy) or set our corn for the deer (two deer one day will miraculously become ten deer tomorrow), or hug that baby bear (NEVER a good idea), just remember what your mother told you and look, but don’t touch. There’s a video going around of a kayaker gently ‘poking’ a resting sea otter in the stomach to wake him up, because…, well, just because he could. (Bet the boater wouldn’t have done that to a sleeping elephant seal). Not only is this wrong on many levels – the Pacific Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is protected both as an Endangered Species and under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, anyone disturbing an otter can be fined or even put in jail; but bothering any resting animal, particularly one that thinks it’s safe, is very unkind. If you’ve ever woken your dog from a nap, remember the mean look you got.


Michonne Says: Flowers and berries are the best to eat. Sometimes if you’re really hungry grass or leaves or even little twigs are fine if that’s all there is, but never, ever eat man food. That’s just for men even if it looks OK. That poppy-corn I found tasted good, but later I didn’t feel so well.


Posted November 8, 2015 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in SciSun

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