Park rangers to visitors: Don't feed the coyotes

Coyotes begging at cars, a very bad sign on the National Seashore
Park rangers will be posting do not feed the animals signs and dispersing groups of coyotes in the National Seashore. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has issued a warning to visitors at the park: stop feeding the coyotes.  The superintendent's warning comes after coyotes--as many as nine--have been seen begging for food at parked cars in the Herring Cove North parking lot in Provincetown.

Price calls the newly developed situation "an unexpected problem" and said it needs to stop immediately. Wild animals, according to a CCNS release, come to rely on humans for food quickly in such situations.  Such a reliance is at a detriment to the animal and may put humans in danger.

Feeding wild animals in a national park is illegal, according to Price, and those who continue to do so will be subject to fines under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.2(a)(2). This includes coyotes, Canadian geese and any other wild animals that call the park their home.

Feeding wild animals has been an issue in other national parks, where signs reading "Keep Wildlife Wild--Don't Feed or Approach Wildlife" are posted.

Once coyotes no longer fear humans, they may become aggressive, especially where food is concerned, according to CCNS.  This can pose a direct danger to adults and especially to children and pets.

Park rangers will post "do not feed the animal" signs around the park and will patrol the Province Lands and the Herring Cove area where coyotes have been congregating to disperse the animals with non-lethal means.

"We do not want anyone hurt, and do not want to put these animals in a hazardous situation because of uninformed human actions," Price said. Price added that aggressive animals may have to be destroyed.


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