Why is it seen as bad to help animals in nature in areas where we share space?

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Many people say it’s bad to interfere with nature whether helping animals in distress or feeding them because they will end up depending on humans. If we share the space and humans will be around animals, why is it seen as bad? Over time would it be possible to more than coexist with animals?

In: Biology

7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because not all humans are good, we don’t want animals relying on us for anything.. you hit the nail on the head with not being dependent, but IMO it’s impossible to create a guideline to coexist with animals indefinitely for the rest of creation. It would be dangerous.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In general it makes animals more willing to approach humans. If a human fed them once before, they will think another human might do it again, and try to get food from humans.

Now you have animals that aren’t afraid of humans, possibly willing to go into a human’s home or other invasions of personal space… and these approaches won’t always be seen as friendly by the human. Now you have an “animal attack” situation even if it’s the human that startled the animal and said animal reacted in self defense. Pretty much any animal is willing to bite, scratch, or otherwise attack something threatening. Animal Control get involved, said animal is likely to be killed as a safety precaution for the public.

Co-existing is one thing, but we don’t want them getting too friendly.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We do more than coexist with some animals. That’s called domestication. Yes it’s possible for wild species of animals to be domesticated but it takes thousands of years.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Former zookeeper here.

We don’t really want animals thinking of humans as a source of food. Even raccoons can be a nuisance if they try to get into your trash cans, etc. If you feed them, they’ll expect other humans to also. If they don’t get fed, they may get bitey about it. This gets even worse the larger the animal get – bears, for instance. It can be pretty dangerous for humans. These animals may also carry disease, which is another reason you don’t want to encourage them to get right up next to humans.

It can be dangerous for animals too. Bears that go intruding into human spaces generally get shot so someone doesn’t get mauled to death. If raccoons are hanging out in a suburb doing a little trash can dining, they’re at greater risk of getting hit by cars, getting shot as pests, eating something out of the trash that’s toxic, etc.

Also, there is no real benefit to getting wild animals used to humans. Why would anyone want raccoons, possums, etc. to be fine with walking up to humans. Who gains something from this? It’s a risk without a reward.

As to whether it would be possible to “more than coexist” with animals – I honestly don’t know what that even means. Like, are you hoping that you can ride a bear to work and a friendly gorilla will help you carry the groceries in? We can domesticate animals through generations of breeding (animals you see on a farm) and we can tame animals and get them to do things (animals you see in a circus), but that’s about it. People still get seriously injured or killed by both categories of animals. despite being in a mostly-controlled environment.

These animals are wild and we, as humans, need to respect that. It’s not on us to care for them, they don’t want to be our friends, and they certainly are not pets. The best things we can do is ensure their habitat is protected from people and pollution, and give them the space to live their animal lives doing animal things.

Nature can be pretty brutal and it doesn’t work like Disney movies. I understand how people see wild animals and think they’re cute and want to “help” them like they would a pet. But, you’ve got to understand, they are not your pets. They’re wild, and it’s up to us to respect and protect that.

I’m not trying to be rude, but I do think this is a bubble worth bursting.

Anonymous 0 Comments

From predators to herbivores, it’s better if animals have a healthy fear of people.

Herbivores/omnivores need to eat a LOT to survive. They tend to graze on a variety of things because that’s what nature grows. That’s how they get the nutrients they need and it’s also a big factor in helping a lot of plants reproduce and receive fertilizer.

When humans start feeding and getting friendly with these critters, they alter their patterns because behaviorally speaking they’ll take the safest, most reliable food source they can get. Humans can inadvertently give these creatures a “bad diet”. For example, people like to feed birds bread, but that’s basically bird junk food. Birds in areas where humans do this are more prone to dying of malnutrition or diseases that bad nutrition makes them susceptible to. They are not smart enough to understand the bread is a snack. It fills their belly and their brains say that’s what they need.

Worse, it makes the animals less fearful of humans, and not every human is nice and not every human wants the animals around. “Friendly” deer don’t mind destroying a garden, and getting close to them sucks because if you DO frighten them their kicks can cause severe injuries. These animals can carry ticks and fleas and other things that they bring into yards with them. Their poop can have parasites that household pets and even humans can contract. The animals can be more likely to want to be near roads. There’s just a list that goes on and on and on about how these animals can be harmed or harm people.

Predators should also have a healthy fear of people. We are relatively small, relatively weak, and our main defense is being able to plan how to kill things with tools without being seen or having to get near them.

Sometimes a predator will learn to be friendly to people in order to get food. They are still a predator. Many animal behavioralists famous for being able to “tame” things like bears and wolves have, in the end, been killed by the creatures they supposedly tamed. When bears learn there is food inside human houses and aren’t afraid of humans, they start breaking into houses to find food. When a bear gets scared, it is EXTREMELY dangerous to humans. Same thing with smaller predators like coyotes. If they think humans are noisy, unpredictable, dangerous creatures they will keep a healthy distance. If they think humans are no big deal, they’ll get closer. That can mean they decide to find out if a toddler at the far end of a back yard makes easy prey. Spoiler: toddlers are really easy prey.

Can we coexist? Sure. Look at dogs. We domesticated them over thousands of years of selective breeding. But it’s not perfect. People die from dog attacks, even from their own pets! Similarly, plenty of people end up in the hospital from cats that were *playing*. They’re still animals and don’t perfectly understand they shouldn’t hurt us. Heck, HUMANS don’t perfectly understand not to hurt each other.

What makes it worse with wild animals is if one person is friendly and tames them, that makes the animal less afraid of other people who maybe don’t want deer, coyotes, or bears in their back yard. The more the animal gets used to people the less deterrents like lights or noise will keep them away. A lot of times when you read stories about neighborhoods having problems with bears, residents can trace the issue back to when one new person moved in and started feeding them or just plain not protecting their trash from them.

So for many, many reasons, we can harm animals and they can harm us if we get too friendly. It’s best if we respect each other and keep a distance. In theory two humans can form a pact and work together for survival. Animals don’t understand pacts. They may be friendly one moment, then lash out and kill a human over seemingly nothing.

(This is why people like to refer to people they don’t like as “animals”, it implies those people don’t want to do what it takes to have a society thus they HARM society. Think about how that applies to people who take and never give back.)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Lots of reasons, but here are the most important:

1. We don’t know how to feed other animals a safe, healthy diet. They will accept food from us that is harmful to them, and that’s not good

2. They will feel more relaxed around humans generally if a few friendly ones help them. This is dangerous because not all humans are friendly — some of us are very cruel, and wild animals can’t tell which of us will feed them yummy snacks and which of us will try to hurt them. If they never get friendly with any us, they’ll never get too close to a dangerous human

3. Humans and other animals work differently. We might do something and think it will make another animal happy, when really, it makes them scared. When they’re scared, they fight, so we get hurt. Usually, when they fight, we fight back, so they get hurt too.

4. Many wild animal species carry germs that cause really awful diseases. Fortunately, many of these germs only infect those wild animals and don’t infect us. However, the more contact we have with these wild animals, the higher the chances of some of these diseases developing the ability to infect humans. That would be really bad. In addition, many germs that can infect us already, like rabies, are carried by wild animals too. Infected animals don’t necessarily show symptoms, so we can’t tell whether or not it’s actually safe to have contact with them. Another disease to be worried about is lyme, which is actually carried by tics that infest many wild animals.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because most humans are bad at knowing how to help animals, or determining when animals need help. It’s cliche, but remember that family that put a baby Buffalo in their car because he “looked cold?” When animals become dependent on humans for food, they put themselves and us in danger. A bear, raccoon, coyote, or squirrel who knows humans as a source of food might attack if it isn’t getting food. The author of the book Hatchet, in a different book, even described a situation where a juvenile deer stomped a baby to death for this reason.

The majority of us who live in cities, suburbs, and even farms (oh yes, some of the people I know who are least respectful of wild nature are farm dwellers) are absolute fucking dogshit at knowing what wild animals need. We are only used to catering to the needs of human beings and perhaps livestock, *maybe* domestic dogs and cats (though IMO, most pet owners are middling at absolute best at that). Wild animals aren’t people. They aren’t dogs. They don’t have the same needs as us, or domestic animals. There are wild horses not far from me and they get sick all the time because people try to give them things like apples and old pumpkins because “tHaTs WhAt HoRsiEs EaT,” but they aren’t supposed to be eating a nonstop diet of things that are supposed to be *treats* for *domestic* horses.

And we also tend to pick and choose which animals we feel “deserve” help. We tend to coddle animals we think of as cute, and kill animals we think are scary or gross. The ecosystem functions the way it does, not based on what random suburbanites arbitrarily think is cute, scary, or gross. But the ecosystem needs predators and scavengers and slimy bugs to function. When we killed all the “bad scary” wolves, it fucked up the “cute pretty” deer population in ways that isn’t just pesky for humans, it’s bad for the deer.

It’s just not good for animals or people.