Why you should not feed wild animals.
You have decided to come to Costa Rica and one of the reasons you chose Costa Rica is probably because of its incredible national parks teeming with life. You made the right decision and you will soon understand why Costa Rica is famous worldwide for its biodiversity protection efforts. When you visit one of its numerous national parks, you literally cannot make a step without seeing a new insect, a new animal or a new plant that will amaze you.
Westerners are so not used to see wild animals such as monkeys, crocodiles or racoons that they quickly get too excited about it! And they would do anything in their power to make them stay with them a little longer. Now, you see me coming… Food! Yes, that’s the trick. I have seen many tourists feeding wild animals while their guide or the forest wardens were not watching. Every time I witness it, it just breaks my heart. People don’t realise that they are clearly not making them a favour; in fact they are actually harming them and facilitating their extinction.
As a true wildlife and monkey lover, I needed to write about wild animal feeding to raise awareness among tourists coming to Costa Rica because most people are actually not aware of the harm they are causing when they decide to feed wild animals or when they accidentally drop a biscuit or “let” wild animals search for food in their bags.
Here’s why you should not feed wild animals:
- Wild animals are very vulnerable to human diseases. By giving them food that you have touched, you transfer them bacteria that are present on your hands.
- Just like humans, wild animals should have a varied diet. You have watched too many cartoons if you still think that monkeys only eat bananas!
- Human food is full of pesticides that can cause harm to wild animals.
- Wild animals are supposed to look for food and to travel for it daily. If they know that food is available in one place, they will stop looking for food.
- Wild animals help preserving the forests by eating its fruits and seeds. They later disseminate the seeds by deposing them in their droppings all over the forest.
- Wild animal feeding facilitates poaching as animals stop fearing humans.
- Wild animals fed by humans become critically dependant to it. On the long term, it diminishes the animals’ survival abilities.
- Wild animal feeding leads to aggressive behaviour towards humans.
- Wild animal feeding can encourage migrations to human populated areas.
Now that you are aware of the disastrous effects of wild animal feeding, please help us save the biodiversity of Costa Rica and resist the temptation. It is much more enjoyable and gratifying to simply observe wild animals in their natural habitat and to know that by visiting this particular national park where they live, you have helped save their home. Maybe you’ll only see them a few seconds, but believe me these few seconds will be priceless.