Spring breaks, Bears wake: Don’t Feed the Bears

Viewing wildlife in their natural habitat can be a wonderful, exhilarating way to connect more deeply with nature. However, certain precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of the animals should always be taken:

Don’t feed wild animals. Feeding wild animals puts them at great risk for becoming addicted to foods that are not natural for them. It also reduces their ability to forage for themselves. Wild animals who are fed by humans are more likely to become aggressive towards people.

Limit time spent observing animals. Encounters with people can be stressful to animals and can alter their normal behaviors. Half an hour is reasonable.

Stay clear of mothers with young. Nests, dens, and rookeries are especially vulnerable to human disturbance. Never herd, chase, or separate a mother from her young or try to handle pups.

Resist the temptation to “rescue” wild animals, especially babies. Mom is usually watching from a safe distance. If an animal appears sick, get professional help by calling park rangers or animal control officers.

Keep pets on a leash or leave them at home. Both pets and wild animals can be hurt if bitten. There is also danger of disease transmission.

Don’t litter. Be responsible for leaving a place better than you found it. Carry a trash bag and pick up litter when you see it.