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Let wildlife be wild

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,293
reviews: 42
Let wildlife be wild

Hi, folks. Who wouldn’t want a picture of their child with a deer at Yosemite or Sequoia? Or some other beautiful creature in any of our national or state parks. Isn’t this a warm and fuzzy, cozy cuddly scene right out of a child or parent’s fondest dreams?

www.ksl.com/…

Wrong.

Wildlife is wild. Park regulations and personnel tell you not to feed, touch, harass, or try to befriend wild creatures for good reason. No matter how “tame” or “friendly” they may seem, wild animals are motivated by food, protection, the safety of their offspring, or territory. A human who appears threatening, feeds an animal and thereby entices it to want more, gets between Mama and her younguns, or does anything that might be misinterpreted, is asking for trouble. Animals don’t think the way people do, and some people don’t think at all. We can’t know when a perfectly innocent gesture or act might upset a critter.

Close contact with people isn’t good for the animals either. Some of them get too accustomed to human attention (including food), and despite efforts to relocate them, become pests that eventually have to be put down.

About 40 years ago, a little boy fed some deer in the Wawona area of Yosemite, no doubt while his adoring parents took pictures. A deer gored the child, killing him. Other injuries have been caused by deer kicking people. They are quick, and their hooves as well as their antlers can do serious harm.

You might encounter bears or deer in Yosemite or Yellowstone, elk at Redwood, or the elusive and fascinating sidewinder rattlesnake in Death Valley. In Death Valley, you might be tempted to pick up a tarantula, approach burros, and of course feed the ravens and coyotes that frequent the resorts and camp and picnic areas. Don’t do it! These are not pets or zoo animals. Let wildlife be wild.

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
posts: 2,848
reviews: 361
1. Re: Let wildlife be wild

This does indeed remind me of the incident where a foreign employee of Furnace Creek Inn had a habit of feeding one of the bobcats that hang out in the palm grove at the resort. She subsequently returned to Europe leaving the bobcat acclimated to connecting people with food. The same bobcat attacked a visitor at the Inn, attacked an employee, wandered through the dining room one day, and subsequently had to be destroyed. This was not only a problem for the bobcat, but also for the people who were attacked that had to get rabies shots. As Frissy says, let wildlife be wild. They are getting a death sentence from folks that feed them.

ZB

So Cal
posts: 3,867
reviews: 63
2. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Oh just...good grief. I can totally understand the kids' behaviour - who *wouldn't* wanna pet the deer? But the adult not stopping them? Geez.

We asked other tourons to please stop feeding the pika at Yellowstone. Didn't listen. Fantastic.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,293
reviews: 42
3. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Follow-up.

www.ksl.com/…

So Cal
posts: 3,867
reviews: 63
4. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Wow...the dad still doesn't get it, does he? :-(

Los Angeles...
posts: 3,753
reviews: 23
5. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Ever been to Oatman, AZ? Those wild burros are so cute aren't they?...NOT

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,293
reviews: 42
6. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Yes, I've been to Oatman, and the wild burros are cute, just like deer, bear cubs, or baby mountain lions.

I know that visitors interact with Oatman's burros. Years ago, local stores sold carrots to visitors. These semi-wild descendants ot domesticated animals probably have a closer bond with humans than fully wild animals do. On hindsight, this may not have been such a grand idea, since it encouraged the burros to beg and be dependent on humans. It isn't that different from the "garbage dump bears" of decades past in Yellowstone.

If visitors are still encouraged to befriend Oatman's burros, I hope they are advised to be careful and not antagonize them. It would be best to not have people feeding them at all, since much of our offerings are not good for them. But if folks simply must get a photo of their kids feeding a burro, they should put the food on their palm, with fingers together, and have the burro pick it up. Holding it out in extended fingers to an excited animal that doesn't know a finger from a piece of celery can lead to bad results.

Edited: 9:32 pm, January 31, 2013
Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
posts: 5,972
reviews: 4
7. Re: Let wildlife be wild

You should ALWAYS feed the bears!

(Especially white ones.)

Edited: 1:07 am, February 01, 2013
Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 54,980
reviews: 42
8. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Koala cuddling is very popular in Australia but already banned in some states for good reasons. And for Oatman, don't feed the young burros. And -lol- Simba. ;)

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
posts: 2,848
reviews: 361
9. Re: Let wildlife be wild

Simba, we are not used to seeing such animals in Death Valley. Where can we go to find a white bear ? Can you be more specific as to their demographics? Thanks in advance!

ZB

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,293
reviews: 42
10. Re: Let wildlife be wild

I think the white bears are pretty good at feeding themselves!