Officials continue to warn: Don’t feed the wildlife

DENVER -- Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues to remind people that feeding wildlife is illegal.

To further enforce the law, Colorado Springs recently passed a city ordinance that increases the fine to $500 for anyone caught doing so.

Wildlife officials say the best thing to do if deer, elk or smaller animals are seen is to let them get comfortable in yards, shoo them away or use an air horn.

"I think a lot of people may mean well when they see wildlife and feed them, but in actuality, it does more harm than good and disrupts their natural digestive systems," Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay said. "It leads to further problems."

Animals in Colorado are built to survive the harsh winters by eating their natural vegetation.

When people feed them non-native or human food such as hay or grain, it disrupts their migration pattern.

"The best thing to do is to not let them get comfortable in your yard," Clay said. "Teach them that your backyard is not a place they want to be.

"They will go on their own and they are built to survive so they'll find a way. You feeding them is not going to do anything for them."

Feeding wild animals can also cause them to crowd around a food source, transferring diseases or parasites.

It can also cause predatory problems and increases the chances of animal-vehicle collisions.

The best advice is to observe wildlife from a distance, keep dogs on a leash and don't be tempted to offer any food.

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