Should people feed wildlife?

No. The Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary discourages the feeding of animals in the wild. Some of the nuisance calls that we receive stem directly from humans feeding wildlife, for example raccoons gathering in unusual numbers and bothering neighbours.

While feeding wildlife can be fun for humans and stems from a genuine care for wildlife, it can be harmful to the animals for some of the following reasons.

  • Animals gathering in unnaturally large numbers (due to an easily available food source) can more readily spread diseases and attract predators
  • Animals depending on humans for food may reproduce in numbers greater than what the environment would normally support
  • Your neighbours may not share your joy for wildlife and may choose to trap, poison or kill the animals on their property
  • Animals may lose their foraging skills
  • Infant animals may never learn essential survival skills
  • Animals may lose their fear of people and approach people for food, which may cause people to believe that the animal is rabid or aggressive and lead to it being trapped or euthanized
  • The food fed to wildlife by humans is usually nutritionally inadequate and can cause health problems