Texas Officials Enact New Wildlife Feeding Rules and Educate Citizens on Urban Wildlife Management
Texas is full of land just waiting to be developed and claimed by humans. Texas has some of the fastest growing cities in the country. New Braunfels and Comal County in particular are the nation’s second fastest growing area. Of course, just as humans are growing and expanding their territory, the wild critters that live there are also increasing in number. One major problem is humans feeding the urban wildlife, which just leads to an increase in their population, as well as encouraging the wild animals to stay in the increasingly urbanized areas and further mix with humans. This inevitably leads to more negative interactions between humans and urban wildlife, as well as health and safety problems within these areas that most humans aren’t even aware of. In an effort to take control of the situation, officials from the city and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hosted an urban wildlife workshop at City Hall, which went over the dangers of feeding urban wildlife and how to deal with the wild creatures people may come across. This workshop was planned as a crash course on urban wildlife for the public that is designed to go along with the new city ordinance prohibiting people from feeding these wild animals.
This ordinance is actually just the first step in the city’s 10-year Watershed Protection Plan, which is aimed at reducing the levels of bacteria Dry Comal Creek and Comal River watersheds. The watersheds were found to contain high levels of bacteria caused by fecal runoff. Sixty percent of this bacteria comes from the wildlife in the area, with only a small percentage coming from humans. This is directly related to the feeding of urban wildlife, and encouraging them to hang out around us humans instead of out in the wild. Their populations boom when these animals are getting fed constantly by humans, as they no longer have to worry about finding food to survive since the humans are taking care of them. When humans intervene in the dietary habits of urban wildlife, it can lead to numerous problems with their health, ability to fight off disease, the degradation of habitat, and disrupt other natural routines and habits of these animals, including the migratory patterns for ducks and geese. Officials are trying to educate the public more than anything, not punishing individuals with actual fines until their second offense. Repeat offenders can expect fines starting at $75 and going up to $500 dollars.
Do you have a large urban wildlife population in your area? How do you think these problems should be handled?