Feeding wildlife can be a bad idea

Everyone has seen or heard reports about well-meaning people who feed wildlife and end up getting hurt in the process. These circumstances have involved human casualties caused by black bears to people getting butted by bighorn sheep during rutting season and kids getting nipped by geese at the local park. Even the smallest of critters can inflict injury.

“Many of us also have heard stories of folks befriending the squirrels and other small animals in the neighborhood, but we have to remember that they are able to bite or scratch, and some, especially rodents, can carry disease,” said Margie Klein, wildlife educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Feeding wildlife is a bad idea for some other reasons as well.

According to the NDOW “Keep Me Wild” program, a simple bag of garbage, bowl of pet food, or plate of leftovers left outside your home can cause severe harm to wildlife. Many wild animals can’t digest human food.

Eating it can cause digestive problems, provide improper nutrition, and even kill an animal.

Additionally, wild animals that have access to human food and garbage often exhibit behavioral changes. They generally lose their fear of people and may even cause property damage or threaten human safety. Coyotes and bobcats are known to visit yards of homes that are located near the edge of town when they are hungry and thirsty. Leaving food or water for them will encourage them to stay nearby and can put pets at risk.

Bears are famous for pilfering food stores and rummaging through garbage containers at campsites. Repeatedly finding food in these areas can condition bears to the presence of people, and that can cause a bear to aggressively protect what it has come to depend upon as a food source. Leaving food out for wildlife will also attract raccoons, ringtail cats and other wild critters.

“Feeding wildlife can lead to dependency of the wildlife on an unnatural food source. Baiting animals with food just to bring them in close is very unwise. Being dependent on that food source can eventually make them unwilling to find their own food,” said Fred Henson, NDOW game warden.

More information can be found online at NDOW’s Keep Me Wild Web site: www.ndow.org/wild/kmw/index.shtm.


Enthusiasts sought for boating committee

The Clark County Commission is accepting applications from boating enthusiasts who are interested in filling one of two vacancies on the county’s seven-member Boating Facilities and Safety Committee. Applicants must be residents of Clark County.

One vacancy is for an individual who is a member of a nonprofit organization involved in outdoor recreational activities associated with boats and boating. The second vacancy is for a member of the general public who is not identified with a specific organization.

The new members will serve two-year terms beginning in July.

The Boating Facilities and Safety Committee is a volunteer board that advises the county commission on how to spend marina fuel taxes generated at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Interested boating and water sports enthusiasts are urged to call the Clark County Manager’s Office at (702) 455-3530 to obtain an application.

Completed applications must be submitted to the Manager’s Office by 1 p.m. June 19, and applicants are encouraged to briefly address the committee during its 2 p.m. meeting that same day.

New members are appointed by the county commission based on recommendations from the committee.

Since the committee was created in 1986, more than $1 million in marina fuel tax revenue has paid for safety programs, equipment and educational projects that promote boating and water safety at Lake Mead, Lake Mojave and on the Colorado River.

Current members of the committee represent the Nevada Yacht Club, Desert Valley Water Safety Council, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Las Vegas Sail & Power Squadron, Lake Mead Boat Owner’s Association, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the public at large.

The committee typically meets six times a year. Meetings are at the County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

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