Diet Change: Starved For Answers

Diet Change: Starved For Answers
Image of Polar bear. (edited)
Habitat loss is causing a dire change to our ecosystems. Food sources are becoming obsolete due to human encroachment or climate change. It's not always easy for us to step in to help considering the other elements at risk when dealing with wildlife. We are also stuck managing our own population. Governments far and wide are considering policy change to maintain natural order. We learned that feeding Polar bears is criminal even if they are starving. Why is that? 
“It’s a lot better to have some animals in the wild even if they are being supplemented in their food. If we were basically the sole food source for these animals, then we’re going to have some very serious issues. It won’t really be a polar bear anymore,” Derocher said in an interview with CNN on the phone. “It will be a semi-wild, semi-captive, free-ranging carnivore. And it probably wouldn’t do that well even if the ice started to come back since the bear would become so dependent on the airlifted food that he may forget how to hunt." Source: CNN
We also learned that climate change affects many animals around the Globe. When we look at the situation of our Polar bears, we can see a similar scenario play out with our wild manatees. However, since the manatees are already at our coasts, officials are considering policy change. As seen here in the video below.
Is it too early to step in to help our Polar bears? Considering they are our largest predators on Earth, we can actually change their psyche and make them dependent on us by offering them an abundance of produce or food from us. Polar bears can travel +5,000 miles in search for food. At that point, we are talking about introducing them into our cities and streets with their continuing habitat loss. That would not be good for anybody. Which we are about to see why that can be a bad thing and how local municipalities are implementing similar plans, but these plans have one major difference. It's to avoid having wildlife near our residences. 
In Idaho, wildlife officials are having a pest problem. That pest is Elk. Elk are not threatened on a conservational standpoint. What's threatened is our peace of mind. These Elk are giving us a hard time because they had a diet change. They lost their home due to rural development and industrial advancements. This happened because of a lack of regard for natural spaces. 
As long as it's done responsibly, we will see improvements. These Elk are known to harbor Chronic Wasting Disease(CWD) when in large numbers. Wildlife officials are managing their plans to contain outbreak. This poses a problem for park rangers and hunters.

Definition: Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal and contagious disease that affects the nervous systems of deer, elk, moose and reindeer. CWD is believed to be caused by abnormal, misfolded forms of the prion protein accumulating within brain cells, which causes progressive damage to those cells and brain damage. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infecting people. However, hunters are encouraged to have their animals tested for CWD, and not consume any animal that tests positive for CWD. Source: Idaho Fish and Game

Feeding wildlife can have detrimental effects to numerous different aspects of life. It's important to acknowledge what may work for one species might not work for another, or any other for that matter. It is important to know the environmental and ecological impact of any action before you contribute to it. 


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