The Land Between is home to diverse natural habitats that are full of nature’s sights and sounds. These marvels attract people from all over the world who visit here with the hopes of experiencing nature up close and personal. Many people say that they love wildlife and express this love through FOOD! However, when it comes to caring for wildlife, feeding them is not the way to help. In fact, doing so can actually cause significant damage to the wildlife and their habitats. Unfortunately, feeding wildlife has numerous consequences including negatively impacting animals’ behaviour, health and ultimately, their survival.
For instance, when we feed deer, and especially if we feed deer bread (and worse, if we feed them towards autumn), we are impacting their metabolism. During this time deer would slow their metabolism in preparation for winter. However, the carbohydrates from the bread keep their systems running at a “high” level, preventing them from adjusting in order to maximize energy during winter when food would naturally be scarce. Bread also changes their gut flora and can make them sick. In addition, if deer become reliant on, or expects food to be provided by humans, it means that they begin congregating near where humans live, which causes more road accidents, increased aggressive behaviour towards humans, and may limit their natural fear of humans. Artificial feeding of deer can also change their natural feeding patterns and abundance, causing certain areas to become overgrazed. Finally, because they are moving out of forests other predators such as wolves and coyotes must change their patterns to find food as well…thus the entire forest ecosystem is affected simply by feeding deer. So remember a saying that was used by elder generations is “Fed is Dead”.
When wanting to experience the beauty and beings of the Land Between choose to interact with wildlife in other ways – by observing their behaviour with humility and providing/creating natural habitat.