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Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Kentucky - August 27, 2012) Wildlife reminder: look, enjoy, do not disturb, do not feed!
"Just because animals are nearby doesn't mean you should try to get closer or try to feed them," said Vickie Carson, the park information officer. "The deer at Mammoth Cave are a good example. This summer in particular we have talked to many people caught in the act of holding a cracker or cookie out to an approaching deer."
The fact that feeding wildlife is a citable offense is one reason not to do it; for those convicted, it carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. There are other reasons which form the basis for the law.
Why is there a law that prohibits disturbing or feeding wildlife?
· Nutritionally, it is bad for the animals. Human food can make wildlife sick.
· It interferes with an animal's ability to forage for its own food. Animals can become dependent on humans.
· Wildlife fed by humans can become nuisance animals, breaking into tents, cars and homes. Rangers trap, move and sometimes kill nuisance animals.
· It makes an animal an easy target for poachers. The deer that linger near the park roads this summer may be killed by poachers in the fall. (Hunting is not allowed in the park.)
· Animals that expect to receive food from humans can become a safety hazard. Some animals carry diseases that are very harmful to humans, like Lyme disease and hanta virus.
"In the long run, a moment's pleasure of snapping an extreme close up or having a deer eat from your hand can be detrimental to its health and well-being, and even lead to its destruction," added Carson. "It is not a humane act."
More information can be found on The Humane Society webpage: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/feed_wildlife.html