Feeding Wildlife in City’s Parks Can Have Unintentionally Adverse Effects

While visitors to the city’s park who feed the wildlife there are likely doing it with only the best of intentions, this seemingly benign act can have unintended but adverse consequences.

Besides increasing the likelihood that someone could get scratched or bitten by an animal, feeding food meant for human consumption to animals is unhealthy for them and can also cause them to congregate in large numbers, which can lead to the spread of disease.

“Parks have been a respite during the pandemic. Bostonians feel safer doing outdoor activities,” said Commissioner Ryan Woods of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “Along with the increased usage, we’ve seen an uptick in park visitors feeding wildlife. Ironically, this has created a different type of public health risk.”

Moreover, Alexis Trzcinski, director of the city’s Animal Care and Control Division, added: “More often than not, people who feed wildlife are well-intentioned. That’s why it’s important to educate the public about why feeding wild animals is very harmful to their wellbeing.”

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