Blaming Disney for Our 'Wild' Ideas: Why You Shouldn't Feed Animals, Even the Chipper Chipmunks
Things we blame Disney for: unrealistic relationship expectations, excessive power to the patriarchy, and terrible Leave No Trace principles. Ok, listen, we're still blasting 'Under the Sea' and Snow White will always be our home girl, but you gotta admit—some of that stuff is cringe in hindsight. One day we might go into the depths of Disney's societal impacts on our psyche, but for today, we're just going to cover the feeding-the-animals thing. Here's why we shouldn't be providing snacks to the forest creatures—even the cute ones, like chipmunks, that really wanna talk and braid our hair:
Altered Behavior + Dependency
When wildlife becomes accustomed to receiving handouts from humans, they can become dependent on this unnatural food source. Do you ever get to a summit and notice that the chipmunks are oddly friendly and approachable? Over time, visitors have turned them into junk food junkies. Dependency on our handouts can lead to changes in their natural behaviors and foraging. Chipmunks, and other critters getting fed, may stop foraging for their natural food sources and instead rely on human-provided food, which can disrupt their ecological role in the ecosystem.
Human food is not necessarily suitable or healthy for wildlife. Feeding animals items like chips, bread, or sugary treats can lead to nutritional imbalances. Additionally, some human foods may be toxic to wildlife, causing harm or even death. Feeding wildlife can unintentionally harm the very animals you're trying to help. Trust us, they're better off with their woodsy-paleo diet.
Encouraging wildlife to approach humans for food can pose safety risks. Animals like chipmunks can become emboldened and may approach people or inhabited areas more frequently, increasing the likelihood of conflicts. In some cases, animals that have become habituated to humans can become aggressive when food is not provided, posing a risk to both wildlife and humans.
In summary, Disney lied to us, and it's best to appreciate and admire wildlife from a respectful distance without providing them with food. The best way to interact with our furry friends is by not interacting at all. If you want to support wildlife, consider participating in conservation efforts or supporting organizations dedicated to preserving their habitats and well-being.