This message is for all of us who spend time living, hiking, camping, backpacking, rafting, fishing and so on...in areas where wild animals make their homes. Please help distribute this message:


This includes bears, squirrels, deer, birds, raccoons, marmots...all wildlife. Rangers, naturalists,
biologists and caretakers in virtually every preserve and park in America can attest to animals dying because of being fed by humans. In general, feeding is unhealthy for native wildlife for many reasons, including the following:

· Human food does not contain the nutrients that wild animals need
· Many animals die of starvation after consuming food packaging
· Animals used to being fed become habituated to human-provided food & alter their foraging behavior
· Animals fed by humans are drawn into heavy traffic areas seeking handouts, and are killed by vehicles
· Birds who are fed cluster unnaturally and are vulnerable to density-dependent diseases
· Many animals (including squirrels & marmots) require more moisture than is in the typical human handout; they suffer dehydration, lose fur patches and subsequently die of exposure
· As populations of raccoons, skunks & others enlarge unnaturally from being fed, potential for rabies, distemper and other density-dependent diseases increases
· Populations of some species fed by humans become unnaturally large, putting undue pressure on less aggressive species (e.g., raccoons, skunks and jays reducing or eliminating local songbird & amphibian populations)
· Large predators who become human-food habituated are considered a threat to humans, and are often killed by government agencies as a result of this habituation.

Every year, bears are killed by various government agencies because they have become habituated to humans and human food. This is a direct result of careless humans creating so-called "problem bears". There is many thousands of dollars in damage annually to vehicles, camping gear and backpacking gear by bears who have learned to associate humans' possessions with food availability. If you live in wildlife habitat, please secure garbage, pet food and other food sources. When you are picnicking, car camping and backpacking, please use the food storage methods recommended by the local agency (proper methods vary by location & "local bear conditions"). If you are planning to backpack and are not able to use a bear-resistant food container or use locally-recommended food storage methods, please do not go. Remember: "A fed (by humans) bear is a DEAD (by humans) bear!"

Other, less controversial animals are also at risk. Deer (and other animals) who approach humans and eat from their hands are not tame; they are bold. Deer have razor-sharp hooves and antlers, and can severely injure or kill a human with a strike. They also suffer health consequences from being fed by humans.

Please help native wildlife by allowing them to stay alive and healthy!

Copyright 1996 by Georgia Stigall. Permission to redistribute in its entirety is granted - as long as this copyright statement is included -  for the purpose of helping both wildlife and humans.    

For a copy of this bulletin in "flyer" format that may be used for distributing this critical message on behalf of wildlife, send an SASE with a note to the postal address below.

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Native Habitats, 17287 Skyline Blvd #102, Woodside, CA 94062-3780, U.S.A.
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