asset in today’ urban life but cities are making efforts to provide quality green spaces in city centres and urban areas. And along with these green spaces come a host of small and bigger residents, local species of wildlife! So we get used to their presence and regular interaction with them.
Under these circumstances, feeding wild animals, especially those that seem particularly cute or endearingly curious about us humans, is not easy to avoid. There will come a time when a squirrel or a hedgehog will run across your garden or another time when you come across other species of wildlife in larger parks or even reserves. However, we should keep ourselves in check! We may think we are helping these creatures, but in reality we may be doing more harm than good. There are many reasons not to feed wildlife, and the ones that follow are some of the most important ones:
- Providing an artificial source of food causes the adults of wildlife species populations to produce larger families compared to what their environment’s natural food supply can support.
- Animals require specialised diets which they need to keep to in order to stay healthy; the wrong food can even kill an animal!
- Feeding wildlife changes species behaviour, often with catastrophic results.
- Providing food to wildlife in residential areas can often lead to damages to your property damage and unwelcome “houseguests”.
This is why in some cases different regions and cities have laws that prohibit humans from feeding wildlife. So look out for relevant signs at your local park or reserve to make sure you are not doing something illegal!
In most cases, the best thing you can do for wildlife is to provide them with a habitat. Naturescaping is one such great way to provide the animals with natural sources of food and shelter that will not put them in danger in the way that human-provided food may. But you will still be able to enjoy wildlife on your property in a way that is safe for both you and the animals⁵,⁶.