As a reader of Outdoor Photographer, you’re probably aware of the basic rules for being a welcome guest in wild places and ethical wildlife photography practices, but a story reported by KGW8 in Oregon prompted us to share this friendly reminder.
Please don’t feed the bears! Or other wildlife.
Most people that do so are coming from a place of kindness and think they’re helping, but as this story reminds us, it’s actually detrimental and potentially very dangerous for both the wildlife and humans. The end result is typically that the wild animal will have to be euthanized.
As KGW8 reports, biologists spotted a black bear near human populations, “eating trail mix, sunflower seeds, cracked corn and other foods left by a person or group of people.” When fed, wild animals become “habituated” to humans, meaning they lose the instinctive fear and begin to frequent areas with humans in hopes of fresh handouts.
The story at KGW8 reports that, “Some people were reportedly even taking selfies with the bear.”
Local sheriffs attempted to relocate the bear but it returned. Wildlife biologists eventually determined that the bear had to be put down, as it showed no fear of humans, posing a potential danger to people.
Read the story and watch a television news segment here:
Please don’t leave food behind when enjoying the outdoors, and keep a safe distance from wildlife.
Read our 10 Tips For Safety In Our National Parks for best practices involving wildlife, hydration and more. Tip 9 includes recommended distances to keep between you and different types of wildlife.