The feeding of wild animals has become a problem anywhere people are able to come in close contact with them. When people feed wild animals, their intentions are usually good. Many are ignorant to the seriousness of the effects caused by people feeding wild animals. Some even go as far as to see feeding the “poor animals” as a good deed. Whatever the reason behind it, the feeding of wild animals is actually detrimental to the health of the animals and to the ecological balance of the area.
Many people see wild animals, just as they would view their own dogs or cats, with the only difference being the animals are surviving in an undomesticated setting. They see these creatures as something they can interact with as long as the animal seems to accept their approaches and doesn’t run away. Therefore many think giving food to a wild animal will encourage the animal to accept the person. They believe getting an animal to accept them through giving them food will create some sort of relationship with the animal by showing that they care for them.
This way of thinking is flawed. Every animal has natural instincts that helps it survive in its habitat, this includes providing nourishment for themselves. Just because animals accept food from people, does not immediately mean they accept the human’s presence. It just means people have become an easy food source. They don’t see humans as anything more than a supplier of food. For most undomesticated animals, the rule of survival was to eat or be eaten. They’ve survived for years without human-provided foods and the unavailability of it is actually more beneficial to the animals, but because of their need for food is met by humans, the animals become increasingly dependent on humans for food instead of depending on their instincts and on the skills they have developed. This causes them to interact more with people and become “domesticated.” Instead of aiding the wild creatures by giving them food, people are hurting the animals abilities to fend and forage for themselves. They become domesticated and lose their ability to survive on their own. They become vulnerable to the dangers of starvation and lose their natural instincts. These animals become so used to being served by humans, they are unable to survive on their own. They become dependent and have to rely on outside aid for basic provisions.
Just as the feeding of wild animals would harm their ability to fend for themselves, the large amount of processed and unnatural food could also harm the animals’ healths. The food given to wild animals by humans is usually food not meant for animals but for people’s consumption. Food for humans is unnatural for the animals and is actually more often than not unhealthy for them. Because animals have evolved to consume certain types of food and specific amounts of nutrients and minerals from the food naturally available in the wild, an unbalanced and unnatural diet of human food would create deficiencies for some nutrients and an oversupply of others. Instincts would normally make sure the animal is receiving the right amount of nutrients, however because it continuously becomes repressed and made obsolete because of easily supplied food, the wild animals often become starved, in the sense of a lack of essential nutrients, and obese, because of the excess of others. This causes the animals to become unhealthy and weak. Also, the processed food given to wild animals have often have chemicals infused into them to make them tastier and more ecological. This intake of chemicals is completely unnatural for the animals and would cause their systems much harm.
This would lead to the overall unhealthiness of the newly domesticated animals, which in turn would harm the health of the species in contact with them. The animals become more susceptible to various diseases and become weak, the weak would die out, which would then create a hole in the food web of the local ecosystem. The loss of food for larger predators would force them to either adopt new sources of food, migrate to a different and less affected area, or to die off. This would create a mad downward cycle of biodiversity loss. Also, because the cells of the animals feeding off human food become unhealthy, the predators who feast on the weakened animals become weakened as well. The chemicals transfer from the prey into the predators system. This then leaves the predators more susceptible to disease and death. Which then adds to the destructive cycle which could inevitably destroy the whole dynamics of the local ecosystem.
Most people may be unaware about the facts concerning the feeding of wild animals. They may not realise that their actions are actually harmful for the animals and the environment, therefore proper education needs to step in in order to spread this important information. The more people realise how urgently we need to change our habit of feeding wild animals the sooner the already damaged biodiversities can begin to recover. Areas in which both animal and human presence is present, should have clear signs on the effects of providing food for the animals. Likewise, this information should become common knowledge for all through the educational system, media, and plain word of mouth. People need to realise that their actions, however seemingly innocent and well intended they may be, can have extreme effects on this world. Stop people from feeding wild animals by making them aware of the dire situation when witnessing the process.
Animals have long existed and thrived on this planet without interacting with humans. As people entered the picture, we have become invaders in the animal’s natural habitat – changing it. Humans need to be encouraged to leave interaction with wild animals to a minimum, so that our existence will not be a handicap to the earth and nature. Close interaction, any interaction that could change the course of life of the animal and its surroundings, between wild animals and humans should be avoided and generally discouraged among the general public. Careful guidelines should be made for people who do need to interact with them and be taken seriously. The rules then need to be enforced to pressure the public to obey them.
You and I need to learn to become observers of nature rather than interferers. To enjoy the beauty and majestic simple complexity of the world’s system without wanting to change things. It’s okay to view and appreciate nature, but we shouldn’t want to damage it unwittingly though our action. We don’t need to alter nature in a negative way by changing the balance of life, instead we can the same way or even better by reducing our harmful impact on the world through the choices we make interacting with wildlife, nature, and throughout our lives.