Saturday, 26 July 2014

Why wild animals should not be fed

Feeding Wild Animals

There used to be a stag at Haa, despite taking it in the wild and freeing it there I was told that it comes back. Likewise there is deer in Nganglam School and wild goat at monastery somewhere in Thimphu. All of them were not tethered but roaming freely not being afraid of the people. They are there because they were fed and getting easy food that they do not like to go back to the wild and search their own food, or they must have forgotten how to do it.

In Australia when I went for a picnic in the wild, there was a big sign board saying that, feeding wild animals is strictly forbidden. Reading the signboard, my thinking was no different than any of the visitors – we are being so mean for not sharing food that is left with the wild animals. We brought our leftover food neatly packed and threw in the bin. What a waste? I did not know the reason until I visited a beach later.
seagulls begging for food
At the beach when I took out my bread sandwiches, there was flock of seagulls already gathered around me and begging for food. I felt weird. There were so many birds that my sandwiches will not be enough for all. I ignored their cry and started to eat but some birds are so brazen that it snatches the food from kids. I wondered how and why this happened. The seagulls are wild bird and they are supposed to be afraid of man. The signboard that I saw at the picnic spot came flashing into my mind like a funny Aussie humour – ‘feeding wild animals is forbidden here’.

Sometimes in the past people must have fed the seagulls just out of compassion. Now that they got so used to getting their share of food from the visitors on the beach that they ask for it like you would for a fees or a tax for using their territory. I think you cannot undo that. Only thing you can do is to stop this same thing happening with other wild animals. And that is what is actually being done at the picnic spot by restricting the feeding of wild with leftover food.

Here in Bhutan feeding the wild happens everywhere and there is no law restricting it. But on the contrary it is considered act of kindness to feed them. We can see people feeding the pigeons, on the streets; it was stopped by the authorities after it caused accidents in some of the towns.

Couple of days back I saw in TV, a vulture being fed by a man in Mongar. The vulture, who is supposed to be a shy, is approaching the feeder and almost eating from his hand. It is captured in the camera indicating that it was not as shy as we thought to it be because there must have been a cameraman also to shoot that clip. I will not be surprised, if that vulture refuses to leave and be dependent on the man to fill its tummy. Then there would be a vulture in Monger, not going back to wild even when driven away.

Take cue from the Aussies, and never feed the wild animals not even with your leftover when you are going for picnic or while eating your packed lunch while on trekking. By saying this, religiously, I may accumulate negative karma but I think God knows the intentions better.