DVK Reminder: Don’t Feed the Animals!

 In Whitewater Blogged

No matter how cute they are, and no matter how they bat their big, beautiful eyes at you as they eye your lunch or snack bags. Feeding the animals while exploring the great outdoors will inevitable do more harm than good. Wild animals are perfectly capable of finding their own food. They’ve been doing it for generations. Do nature a favor and leave it alone. It’s the best way to preserve it for the next many generations to come.

Spotting wildlife while rafting on the Arkansas River

Bighorn Sheep, a Native of the Arkansas River, are a common sighting on rafting trips. Take a photo, just don’t feed them.

As humans, we have natural nurturing instincts that go beyond our own brood. It is not an uncommon trait for mammals to adopt other animals, other species and care for them like they were their own. So, when we see a cute little animals on our hike or ride or climb or run go ahead and stop to observe and take a picture. But, then you should wave your goodbyes and continue on your way. That nut snack in your pocket is going to be mighty enticing for any animal, and you may be tempted to share. Don’t do it. Resist.

For one thing, people food is not good for animals. Your nut snack may say “organic” and “all natural”. But when was the last time you saw a squirrel add salt to their nut supply. Or make themselves a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sure, they eat grains and berries, but they don’t eat Wonder Bread and Smucker’s grape jelly. Will they eat it, sure, cause who wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. It might not be good for your either, but that’s another blog.

white water family adventure

Feeding the animals will encourage them to seek out camping areas in search of more food. This can be extremely dangerous to both you, your family and all other campers.

When you sit there trying to coax an animal to come closer by offering them food, you may have images of Snow White and Dr. Doolittle in your mind. But, when you do this, you should think of yourself more like that stranger in an unmarked van with a bag of candy. You know, the kind you warn your children about. Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to feed a wild animal. Just like your children, you want animals to keep their natural fear of strangers. It will help protect the animals survival skills, as well as protect you and your group. You don’t want that big brown bear to get comfortable walking around in campgrounds or residential areas looking for their next meal.

Last, if animals begin to get comfortable getting their food from humans you’ll start to draw large crowds of animals to one populated area. Campgrounds, trails, rest stops and residential areas will start to become over populated with wild animals. This can cause fights for territory, injuries and spread disease.

So, let the animals be wild and stay wild. It’s will be much more exciting when you do spot an animal on your outdoor adventure. Otherwise, you may as well just go to the zoo.