Don’t Feed the Wildlife

colorado parksColorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind citizens that feeding corn and grain to some big game animals can be toxic and cause their death. Deer, elk, bighorn sheep and other ungulates are all ruminants, animals with a complex digestive system composed of a four chambered stomach. The animals digest plant based food through fermentation in a specialized stomach. A law passed in 1992 makes it illegal to feed big game animals. This includes deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bears. Feeding wildlife is bad for the animals and dangerous for people, for a number of different reasons. Ruminants can develop some tolerance to grain and corn over time, but there are other consequences. Salt and mineral blocks, corn, and grain all facilitate disease transmission. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose as well as pneumonia in sheep are very serious diseases. They take time to develop in the animal, so those feeding wildlife don’t see the direct negative consequences of their actions. Animals frequently develop these diseases in areas where wildlife are fed and can affect many other individual animals. Those caught feeding wildlife can be prosecuted. If you would like to report an instance of wildlife feeding, you can call 1-877-COLO-OGT.

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