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Game and Fish advises: Stop practice of feeding wildlife
Zen Mocarski says this photo of an elk with a metal trash can lid around his neck is a perfect example why people do not help animals when they feed them.
6/22/2012 9:47:00 AM
roughout Arizona create a host of problems and potential conflicts.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds the public of the potential hazards associated with providing an easy food source for wildlife.
"Where to start?" asked Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. "People are not helping the animals. In fact, in many instances they are contributing to increased wildlife deaths."
Mocarski explained that drawing wildlife into an urban setting places wildlife at risk of vehicle collisions, makes it easier for animals to transmit diseases to each other, often creates conflicts in communities, and can create an attractive setting for predatory animals.
"The majority of our nuisance wildlife calls are the result of feeding," Mocarski said. "It is quite frustrating. This is not an act of selflessness, but of selfishness. The practice of feeding is more about wanting to see the animals than of helping them."
Mocarski mentioned an individual feeding quail. Across the street sat two roadrunners waiting to dine on the chicks.
Other instances have involved neighbors becoming disgruntled.
"One person's feeding passion becomes another person's pest," Mocarski said. "Javelina, for instance, can get under houses, attack pets, and cause extensive damage to homes and property. Not to mention a potentially dangerous situation for the public."
Mocarski, who said the biggest issue is food on the ground, explained people who feed deer rarely consider the fact deer are the favorite food of mountain lions. Drawn into the urban setting, mountain lions can become accustomed to being in the presence of humans.
"Next thing you know Game and Fish officers are out searching for a problem lion and some members of the public are up in arms," he explained. "You end up with an animal that can pose a risk to public safety. This could result in the animal having to be lethally removed.
"Many of these situations can be avoided if people would just stop feeding wildlife or making food sources available. In addition, contact a local nursery and plant native vegetation around your property."
For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.
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