• P.O. Box 507, St. Davids, Ontario, Canada, L0S 1P0 

Search Coyote Watch Canada

Harmful handouts - What's love got to do with it?

Posted Dec 22nd, 2020 in Guest Blog

Harmful handouts - What's love got to do with it?

It has taken me a long time to write this, but please take the time to read it. Please feel free to share this far and wide, in hopes it will reach those who truly need to see it.

As many of you know I am a wildlife photographer, what most don't know are the hours, patience, cost, and dedication it takes to catch a glimpse of an animal. Sometimes we are given chances where time stands still and we can capture them in their natural habitat from a safe distance. Other days we are out from sunrise to sunset and don't find anything.

Another unknown piece is the time spent with heartache as I watch humans trample homes, litter, and feed wildlife. The number of tears I have shed over an orphaned sick bear cub, animals playing with beer cans, and moving their bodies off of the pavement after vehicle collisions.

When you feed them they become food-conditioned to humans which often results in unwanted animal interactions. They start being destructive, defensive, pushy, and desperate for food. Another human-created issue.

I get it, you want that once-in-a-lifetime experience, a cute photo, who doesn't? Please ask someone who has dedicated their lives to studying and respecting them. Anyone who wants to join me, I am happy to share the adventure.

If you have fed wildlife in the past, that is okay, educate yourself, change your ways. Pick up garbage you find, please! Tell others to pick up their garbage. Intervene when people are mistreating animals and their habitat. Report them!

Please be an advocate for animals who need your voice as well! The more you help protect wildlife, the more you get to see and share the community with them.

Recently my friends and I spent a short time with a beautiful mother fox. We soon realized she was food-conditioned to humans and chased her away from the road. She quickly returned looking for food, and we left.

Red fox mother

On our way back her baby kit laid lifeless on the road, I lifted the still-warm body off the pavement and laid it in a patch of wildflowers. Mama followed concerned, panicked, and confused as her second baby watched. This was my first encounter with a fox family, I have always wanted to see one. I am still crying about that family. I will never stop hurting over them.

There is a saying 'a fed animal is a dead animal'. More notably, make this critical connection please, 'a fed animal is a misled animal'. 

About the Author - My name is Victoria, and I am a Canadian photographer who loves adventuring with my dog, Carbon. We hike, explore, kayak, and camp wherever we can. I spend hours studying animals so I can observe them from a safe distance and help educate those around me about protecting them. I am grateful for my time in the woods, and love to share my experiences through photos and short stories. Sharing these moments in nature can help ignite a passion for wildlife and habitat conservation which is something I strive for. I appreciate all of my adventures and those who care to join me physically, and visually. Thank you for exploring with me!

Coyote Watch Canada