Phillip Elden: Don’t Feed the Bears

Phillip Elden

You already know you aren’t supposed to feed wild animals but do you know why? Here, conservation strategist Phillip Elden offers four answers to that very important question.

1. Your food wasn’t made for animal bellies.

According to Phillip Elden, people food does not contain the right balance of protein and fat to be healthy to wild animals. In fact, feeding the ducks and geese at the local lake can even deform the animals you’re trying to help out. Waterfowl that subsist on a diet of human-provided crackers, bread, and popcorn may develop “angel wings,” wings that aren’t strong enough to fly.

2. Feeding wild animals makes them less fearful of people.

You’re scared of wolves and bears but they, along with most other creatures, are also afraid of you. When you feed deer and other seemingly docile critters, you allow them to lose this fear and that’s not a good thing. Phillip Elden cautions that animals that become comfortable around humans can quickly become a hazard.

3. By feeding animals near human activity, you put them at risk of injury.

Animals don’t understand that a car is a 2-ton machine that can kill them, says Phillip Elden. If they get comfortable around humans, they get comfortable around vehicles and can inadvertently injure themselves by not moving out of the way when needed.

4. Animals can start to depend on people for food.

Animals who no longer need to hunt may lose this ability. Phillip Elden says this can trigger human dependency in subsequent generations.

Phillip Elden explains that ducks and geese can be fed special pellets while humans should never leave food unattended where bears or wolves (or other animals) can get to it. He suggests closing trash can lids at night and cleaning up after you eat outdoors.