Colorado Parks and Wildlife shared a photo of the poor deer on Twitter.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is asking people (again) not to feed wildlife. This most recent reminder comes after CPW released a photo of a deer that died with cancer and had a stomach full of birdseed.
This poor deer had cancer & died with a stomach full of bird seed. When people feed wildlife, it may fill their bellies, but it is not giving them the nutrients they need to survive. Everything gets worse for wildlife after people introduce non-natural foods to them. pic.twitter.com/iTxVlGFGkG— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) February 24, 2020
The agency is reminding people that feeding wildlife “non-natural” foods does more harm than good. The animals do not get the right nutrients they need from their natural diet and fill up on whatever is put out for them.
Earlier this year, the agency issued a similar warning after a video was shared online showing a woman feeding a deer inside her home.
Though we're sure it comes from a well-meaning place, feeding these creatures is both against the law and dangerous. CPW reminds us that it is “illegal to intentionally place or distribute feed, salt blocks or other attractants for big-game animals.”
This is a problem that's largely associated with deer who tend to herd in lower elevations during the winter, as this brings them in closer contact with people, who may think the animals need help supplementing their diets. Putting out hay, corn, or grain may seem like a considerate thing to do for the animals, but it's not. Their digestive systems are not indented to digest these rich types of foods and it can kill them. Big game animals, deer among them, do much better foraging for their own natural food sources, surviving on the organic sustenance they need rather than human-provided food.
The warning to not feed wildlife extends even to the babies, who may often be seen alone and could lead people to believe they need help. Again, this is not the case. CPW asks that if someone comes across a young bird or animal that may need help, they leave the animal alone, observe to see if the parent comes back, and call CPW for assistance rather than touching, moving, or feeding the animal.
CPW has several tips about wildlife in Colorado and how we can coexist without harming them. A law passed in 1992 that makes the feeding of big game animals illegal, in part, due to concerns about attracting mountain lions who primarily hunt for deer. Deer will gather where the food is being handed out and will attract mountain lions, foxes, bears, and other predators looking to get a snack. Concentrating animals, like deer, can also spread disease among the wildlife population and between wildlife and livestock, and domestic animals and people.
We hope that people will take heed of CPW's warning and not feed the wildlife. Take a picture and move on, allowing the animals to exist in their home, without risk of harm. As part of the state’s natural resources, it's up to us all to take care of these creatures.
Have you seen anyone feeding wildlife recently? Did you know it was illegal to feed big game animals in Colorado? Let us know what you think in the comments.