Can I Please Feed the Animals?

When you come visit Yellowstone Bear World, you’ll see lots of exciting wildlife—and lots of “Please Don’t Feed the Wildlife” signs. While that motto has become a funny photo-op or t-shirt print, we aren’t joking when we say it. Feeding the wildlife around Yellowstone can pose a serious threat to both you and the animals.

What’s All the Fuss About?
When you give a wild animal a piece of your granola bar, there are consequences far beyond the fact that you now only have half a granola bar left. Animals act on survival instincts, one of these being the desire for food. The easier the access, the more favorable the dining option. And access doesn’t get much easier than someone tossing you your dinner.

feed-elk

This type of interaction with humans can make Yellowstone wildlife like moose, deer, elk, and bears more willing to approach humans and less able to survive on their own. Put yourself in a bear’s paws for a moment: You may need to eat as much as 90 lbs. of food in a day during the fall, so you eat everything you can from berries to small animals. But then a strange-looking creature tosses something toward you that smells amazing and tastes even better. Next time you see one of those strange creatures, you’ll remember that they are harmless snack dispensers.

You can see how this impression of humans could be dangerous for animals and people alike. If the animals in Yellowstone start to search for free food around humans, they will lose valuable survival skills and put themselves in danger by approaching potentially unfriendly humans. Just look at how seagulls behave now thanks to our beach picnics. Now add fur, teeth, and claws to a seagull, and you’ll know why the feeding arrangement is bad for humans too.

People Food is for People
Not only is it dangerous for the wildlife in Yellowstone to become overly comfortable around humans, it can also be dangerous for them to consume human food. Animals like bears sniff their way to a meal, so anything with a strong, appealing scent is fair game. Maybe you can tell the difference between your shampoo and your hot dogs, but bears cannot. Animals could eat something that isn’t meant to be eaten. Foods, products, and packaging, if consumed, could cause disease and injury for any animal.

So as you pack the car for your next trip to Bear World, don’t worry about packing snacks for the animals. The only wildlife you’ll be feeding are the ones in our petting zoo, and we’ll provide the food. Give us a call to book a visit today.

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