IMG_5628Once upon a time, there was a place, where seagulls didn’t dive bomb for your food.  Where pigeons didn’t start to tail a person who has bread.  And where apes (more on this later) didn’t do a smash and grab.

There was a period in existence where animals kept to their side and humans kept to the other.  We took what was necessary and we left the rest to our kind.  Now I don’t know this for a scientific fact. But I am willing to bet that wild animals didn’t always rely on humans as the givers of food. 

Now, ok, this time has ended and fair enough initially maybe no one knew, but now there are signs.

So why is it that when the sign says: ‘Do not feed the animals’ people ignore it and become so overwhelmed with a fuzzy little creature that they are insistent upon breaking a piece of their food and offering it like holy communion.

The problem in making

I often go to the park for lunch and next to a sign which says: ‘Do not feed the squirrels’ is a person trying to offer their food to said squirrel. 

Now these park squirrels have already come forward in the evolutionary process by being fearless enough to go close to humans.  They are not the ‘human stomp, squirrel run’ kind. And whilst I applaud their step, it would be best for it to stop there.  There is no need for the squirrels to follow in the footsteps of its brethren animals, the birds, the rats and the foxes by taking human food too.

Now it may sound like I am exaggerating the situation but then I remember my Kenya experience.

The step taken

I went on a one day safari with a group in Kenya.  When we pulled up in our mini van, we quickly rolled up the windows before getting out. Why?  Because jumping into cars like pro criminals were these little monkeys. They were sliding into cars through the windows and coming out with cans of cola and food.   

These cute little being that someone  came on holiday and thought so sweet, let’s see what it does when we give it cola, learned how to get cola, open cola and take cola even when it was not offered.

And ok, maybe they are little and ‘harmless’ but what about the ape? So we’re sitting in this place and I see this huge ape going past.  I think nothing of it, the guide is there and they are afraid of the guides.  But the ape is just scoping and when the guide turns around to radio something, it makes a run to the table, grabs a sandwich and runs off again.  It was a scary experience, I fell of my chair.

Not so long afterwards another tour group turns up and two women offer food to a child ape, cooing about how cute it is when it eats… 

But what can be done?

Well that is rather simple.  Next time you see a ‘cute’ wild animal, take a picture.  Tweet about its adorableness. Put it on Facebook.  Post it on Instagram.  Tell all your friends.   Watch YouTube videos about how it eats and lives….. But Read the signs. And Keep your food to yourself.  Or it is only a matter of time before those ‘cute’ little squirrels turn into food grabbing violent mammals.

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