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Pumpkins pose a threat to Okanagan wildlife

Keep wildlife wild, don’t feed them
A curious young deer eyes up a pumpkin in a Harwood area yard after Halloween. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Residents leaving pumpkins out for animals are putting the wildlife in harm’s way.

Okanagan’s Nature Nut is concerned that Halloween leftovers left out as a ‘treat’ for wildlife, are in fact ‘tricking’ them.

“Wildlife get their own food, water and shelter. That’s how they are wild,” said Roseanne Van Ee. “We domesticate them causing them to rely on us for food when we put out pumpkins or other human food.”

She urges resident not to leave deer and raccoons pumpkins, which can also attract skunks, squirrels, rats, mice, bears, coyotes and insects.

“Wildlife continually look for food and can lose their fear of humans when we feed them. Then, they may become aggressive if not fed as expected.”

She points to local expert urban wildlife control specialist, Pete Wise, who has said: “we create our own problems with nuisance wildlife…by leaving food and water out for them.”

Animals remember where food is left out and will return. They are innocent and just following their own instincts to do what they need to survive.

“That’s why you only take your compost and garbage out on the morning of collection and feed your pets indoors,” said Van Ee.

The Nature Nut says pumpkins can instead be composted or used for human consumption, pumpkin custard being her favourite.

READ MORE: Leave the leaves alone: Okanagan’s Nature Nut

Black Press Media Staff

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