Don’t feed wild animals

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 8, 2018

Last Friday a black bear was caught on video in Picayune near East Canal Street.

While they are beautiful animals, they are also dangerous and should be avoided.

According to an article by the National Park Service, there are several ways to avoid a confrontation with a wild bear – including keeping food out of reach.

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Bears eat a variety of things and are known for wandering into cities and onto private property in search of food. While trash would not be considered as intentional feeding, there are people who actively feed wild animals like bears, which can be detrimental to their health and increase the likelihood of their presence in urban areas.

I have certainly been guilty of feeding wild animals of the less dangerous variety. I’ve left food out for squirrels and raccoons and I’ve thrown bread to ducks and pigeons. After some research showed how detrimental feeding those animals can be, I decided to stop.

One of the major issues that arises from feeding these animals is that they are drawn to urban areas. This can lead to dangerous confrontations between humans and animals. It also means that they are more likely to enter roadways, which can cause dangerous vehicle collisions.

Feeding animals can be detrimental to their health. Bread, for instance, does not have the nutrients birds, fish and turtles need, so giving them bread can lead to negative health outcomes.

Allowing wild animals to become conditioned to human foods, “transforms wild and healthy animals into habitual beggars.

Studies have shown that panhandling animals have a shorter lifespan.

Beggar animals may die from ingesting food packaging. Many animals have died a slow and agonizing death from eating plastics and other materials,” the NPS article states.

For the benefit of animals and the environment, do not actively feed wild animals and take steps to prevent them from foraging through your trash.