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Why do people still feed wildlife and waterfowl, especially when it's illegal?

Why do people feed waterfowl and wildlife?
It causes many problems with the animals, in ducks it can contribute to them having viral enteritis, it can cause deformations in young ducklings, migration problems, and an algae bloom.
In land animals such as squirrels and common birds, like blue jays. it can cause them to become to used to people, it can cause them to not get the proper nutrients they need and it can cause them to not hibernate (squirrels).
In most countries, it is illegal to feed wildlife, especially waterfowl, so why do people still do it?

  • Jan 4 2012: Well, first of all, let's be clear about this: feeding a wild animal is not an automatic death sentence. For that matter, we have murdered many more animals by destroying their habitat than by feeding them. I think if we have done enough damage to their natural food sources, then we owe it to them to feed them, until said sources can be rebuilt or replenished, or we have killed them anyway by starvation. That's not to say we should feed them food that would give them diseases, or to feed them human food, which would be inappropriate.

    Second, people feed wild animals because they feel an empathic need to care for others, not just other humans. That's a positive trait, and it stems from a kind heart, not a stupid brain. Educating people on the dangers you know about--specifically regarding contaminated or inappropriate food--would be a positive first step in bringing about the change you desire.

    I am a wildlife photographer, and I don't usually feed wild animals. I just use my zoom lens to get a good shot; no coaxing or feeding necessary. Don't underestimate the potential of wild animal photography to have a positive effect on people; it can inspire people to care about those wild animals, perhaps care enough to do something about preserving their natural habitat.
    • Jan 7 2012: I agree about it being a positive trait for people to want to help, however most animals like ducks, have access to the food they need, they do not need people to feed them. Besides, it may not be an automatic death as you say, and yes we have killed many animals by destroying habitats, which will be the next conversation I am going to start. But, why feed them when there are the resources for them? Why feed them and kill more of the species? Also, about not giving them the food that gives them diseases, just about any food that isn't in their normal diet can cause diseases in the animal, I mean yes, if their habitats are ruined then some animals may need that help. But people are going to places just to feed them, people are going into the wild habitat where there is enough food for these animals and are going in there to feed them. People shouldn't be doing that, it harms the animals, and the people as well because some of the diseases that can form are transferable to humans. Feeding the wildlife just causes problems, people shouldn't be doing it.

      Also, I am glad that you do not feed the wildlife, I am very glad to hear that you don't feed them to take your pictures. The photography can have a positive effect on people, as I have been doing with my environmental group, we are using pictures and they seem to get people's attention and get people to understand the effects. Again, I am very happy yuo do not feed the wildlife!
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    Jan 13 2012: Because like petting a cat the process is deeply soothing.
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    Dec 13 2011: If animals came close enough to be photographed for nothing, we could spare the chips. But they don't.
    • Dec 13 2011: So, you're saying that it's worth ruining the animals health, causing diseases, and killing them is worth a photograph? Some of the diseases can be transmitted to people as well. We shouldn't feed wildlife, just for a photo, especially when it kills them.
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        Dec 14 2011: I'm not saying it's worth it. I'm explaining why people, dumb people, feed animals in the wild.
        I have a personal problem with idiots who go out of their way to take a stupid picture they can brag about. It's never interesting, nor is it anywhere close to being artistic. It's just a trophy for losers.
        • Dec 18 2011: I apologize foe misunderstanding you, I agree completely with you! I am soooo glad that someone agrees that people should stop feeding wildlife!!