Saturday, March 14, 2009

Feeding Wildlife

A lot has been said about feeding wild animals. Most of it bad. Last Winter, Bayview hosted for a time, three moose. A lone Bull, which we dubbed "Baywinkle," and a cow/calf duo. The cow and calf were soon killed by well meaning neighbors apparently trying to make pets out of them. These well meaning folks piled corn out on the sides of the street where the moose could find it. Find it they did, and promptly died.

Without going deeply into animal biology, some are grazers, others browsers. All, while eating sparsely seem to survive most winters quite well. When humans intervene with a sudden, richer diet, one that the animal was never intended to eat, several bad things can and do happen. First, in the case of the cow and calf moose, the corn was deadly poison. Just as cows and horses can bloat, so can wild animals. A sudden change in diet can and does kill. The actual favorite food of moose, according to Idaho fish & Game professionals, is cedar.

Secondly, feeding wildlife can lead to them losing their fear of people. A third and just as deadly, not only for the wild animals but also humans, is when you congregate a large number of animals together, they will dash across the roads, and be hit by vehicle traffic. This is usually fatal to the animal and ain't so good for the car either.

Currently, we have received reports of a deer feeding operation on Cape Horn Road near Lime Kiln. This would explain the 25 to 30 deer herded up on the hillsides above lower Cape Horn. From the edge of Dick Hansen's development, all the way up to the community center, large numbers of deer are present, close to the road and human contact. Yesterday I watched out my window, also situated on Lime Kiln Road, while a doe walked calmly up the hill after getting a drink at the spring below. It wasn't nervous, not in a hurry, just ambling along at near noon.

Lack of knowledge is the usual culprit. Most people who create these hazards have the best intentions. Please, for the sake of the deer and moose and your neighbors safety, stop feeding them.

1 comment:

MarmiteToasty said...

oh my, that moose looks like its wearing a wooly jumper :)