This week's tragic story out of Oysterville, WA is another in a long series of examples of the consequences of feeding wildlife.
It is undeniably exciting to see wild animals up close and personal, and feeding them will certainly bring them closer, but problems quickly arise when wild animals begin to see humans as an easy food source. Their natural wariness of humans decreases, and soon the situation becomes dangerous for both humans and animals.
In the case of Oysterville, an area homeowner was feeding piles of dog food to Black Bears. Understandably, their neighbors had safety concerns when 10 bears began frequenting the neighborhood and showing no fear of humans. The end result of the homeowner’s choice to feed wildlife was that five of bears had to endure the stress of capture and relocation and another five had to be euthanized because they were dangerously habituated to humans.
We go to great lengths at PAWS to ensure that the bears and other wild animals in our care do not become habituated to humans. The best defense a wild animal has is a strong aversion to humans.
Feeding wild animals and decreasing their fear too often results in dangerous situations for the humans involved and tragedy for the animals. Please, do not feed wild animals.