A WINTERY DAY AT THE SLOUGH where eagles were gathering and geese were passing through.

Wild animals will find their own food

It was funny when Yogi the bear stole a picnic basket, but today's consequences are far worse than a stern lecture and slap on the wrist.

Wild animals are meant to be Wild. They live by instinct – they can kill or cause serious injury, no matter how “cute” they may look. They carry diseases and parasites that can be transferred through touch or feces.

It’s not easy to look into the beseeching brown eyes of a raccoon on your deck while you remove the outside catfood dish.

Even if it’s not bothering you, it could be bothering your neighbours. That same raccoon and her family helped themselves to all of the neighbour’s koi and would have followed that up with a nice chicken dinner if they could have.

Apparently, you risk heavy fines and war with your neighbours in Kamloops if you feed the crows!

More importantly, you could be responsible for their demise if they become a nuisance. Animals like bears, cougars and coyote packs pose a definite hazard to people and can’t be left to wander through town at will, but here are also people who take it upon themselves to “take care” of a nuisance, and in some cases, they have every right.

Leave them alone. Forget the stupid youtube videos of people petting, feeding and making pets out of these animals. It’s one thing to have them wander through your backyard. They’ll move on to where there is food and shelter.

When we lived up north, we were regularly visited by deer, moose and bears. We were in their migration path. Sometimes they bedded down for the night nearby, but they were almost always gone by morning. It is illegal to feed them up north, also, although there always seems to be at least one person who will.

A steady food source means population growth, like those adorable bunnies that pop up all over Kelowna and other places.

Soon you need to cull the population, which never should have been allowed to dwell there in the first place, and nobody likes a cull.

Do the wildlife a favour and stay on good terms with your neighbours – do not feed  the animals!

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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