Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds citizens of Arizona to refrain from feeding wildlife because it is harmful.
The contact draws wildlife in to unfamiliar urban areas and pushes them to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
“I really can’t think of a good reason to draw wildlife into close contact with humans,” said Zen Mocarski, of AZGFD. “Vehicles and wildlife can rarely share the same space without a negative result.”
Although it may seem to be helping wildlife, it actually puts them in harm’s way. And vehicle collisions aren’t the only problem.
“Those feeding can be creating a type of smorgasbord for predatory animals,” Mocarski stated in a prepared statement. “It doesn’t always happen, but it certainly can. Then these large predators, such as a mountain lion, begin living near humans and become habituated.”
The situation can prove to pose a safety threat for humans, and AZGFD officials have had to use lethal removal measures in some instances. The use of lethal force generally upsets the public, he said.
“This is about changing the general mindset of having to ‘help’ wildlife,” Mocarski stated. “They don’t need that kind of help. They will find food and water.”
Disease also can spread more easily when many types of wildlife are lured to one area. Diseases can spread among wildlife species much like they do in a school classroom, he said.
“The bottom line is that feeding wildlife is a selfish act,” Mocarski said. “It isn’t about helping wildlife, it’s about seeing wildlife. I’d suggest those wishing to see wildlife get outdoors and away from their homes … that’s when you’ll learn what makes these animals special.”
For more information, visit azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife. You also can visit Region 3 on Facebook by searching for AZGFD Kingman.