GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cost of Feeding Griffith Park Wildlife Far Greater Than the Price of Food

Cruising isn't an activity reserved for humans in Griffith Park. Right now there are a number of coyotes that continually cruise picnic areas and specific points along park roads for one thing and one thing only: handouts.

These freeloaders know that if they sit there long enough, someone will throw them a goodie.

This activity - feeding the wildlife - is VERY ILLEGAL for a number of reasons. Coyotes are swift, skilled hunters when they are engaged in that activity. They serve an important place in the ecosystem, keeping check on the size of rabbit population and other small mammals that make up the typical coyote diet when humans don't disrupt their normal behavior.

Coyotes may look like pet dogs, but the reality is that these are wild animals. In fact, they will gladly devour your pet dog or cat without prejudice if the opportunity presents itself.

More importantly, coyotes are smart and highly opportunistic. If they know free food is forthcoming, they will wait for it.

If a predator-type wild animal bites a human for any reason, the California Department of Fish and Game takes this very seriously. The bite becomes an official "incident", and the life of the animal and perhaps the lives of its pack-mates are automatically forfeit. Once a predator-type wild animal has bitten a person, it becomes emboldened. Fish and Game removes the animal for the safety of the public.

Last year, a young girl was bitten in Griffith Park by a coyote who had become used to being hand-fed. Fish and Game 'removed' that animal and a number of its pack mates who were involved in the learned behavior.*

The death of these animals and the pain and suffering caused by their behavior is a direct result of the actions of those people who wilfully ignored the signs and fed the coyotes anyway.

Please get a clue, people. Don't feed the animals in the park! The price is simply too high.

(*before anyone complains to Rec and Parks, don't - the action is entirely under the purview of Fish and Game)