Please don't feed the coyotes, National Park Rangers beg hikers

Coyote standing in field
(Image credit: Getty)

Rangers are pleading with hikers and campers not to feed wild animals at US National Parks after a coyote had to be euthanized at Herring Cove Beach, on Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts.

As CapeCod.com (opens in new tab) reports, the animal was seen behaving aggressively towards people and pets at a parking lot near the beach, where officials believe it had been regularly fed by visiting tourists, including snatching items from people.

Although people often feel they are helping wild animals by offering food, doing so is seriously dangerous. The animals can become habituated by regular contact with people, meaning they lose their natural wariness and are more likely to come into close quarters with people. They can also become food conditioned, meaning they see humans and their settlements as a source of an easy meal, leading to conflicts.

In many states, wild animals (such as bears, wolves and coyotes) are trapped and euthanized after any attack on a person, even if they were taken by surprise. 

Human food can also cause digestive issues for animals, and stop them seeking out their natural diet, which better suits their nutritional needs.

"Do not feed any wild animals," the NPS said on a sign posted at Herring Cove Beach (opens in new tab) after the incident. "Take all food, remains and trash with you.  If approached, scare off coyotes by yelling."

For more advice, see our guide wildlife safety: 8 tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).