Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The "Yogi Bears" of the Equine World!

I admit to wanting to get close to these wonderful creatures, but I let this obviously pregnant mare come to me! 

My comments are below this story:

Assateague's Wild Horses Get Too Close To Company

The first thing visitors notice about Assateague Island National Seashore is this: The 114 wild horses that inhabit the beachfront park along the Atlantic Ocean have full run of the place.
Summer is peak season for some 2 million tourists who visit Maryland's Assateague Island, famed for those wild horses. But increased interaction between man and beast is causing problems with the horses' diets and behaviors.
A Taste For Junk Food
It's striking just how close the stunning wild horses get to visitors, whether it's a chestnut mare chomping grass near a roadway, or a stallion and several mares trotting near a campground filled with RVs.
Ranger Allison Turner of the National Park Service monitors the herd, and says the horses are not afraid of people.
"And they can become curious about them or they may — if they smell the food — they may go investigate," she says. "They can learn that it's easy access to food."
Tammy McAdoo, visiting from Arkansas, says a horse came right up to the edge of a nearby picnic table.
"[That's] about the first time we got ... close to them," she says, but she wasn't sure if the horse was hungry. "We don't have any food out ... I guess he wanted the shade, really."
Horses are typically herbivores. But thanks to visitors who pet and feed them, park volunteer Pam Stansell says they've developed a taste for things like junk food.
"They like everything. They'll eat chips, hot dogs, raw meat, dog food," says Stansell.

Somehow this story does NOT surprise me. I was there a number of years ago and didn't witness this behavior. I also would never consider offering a wild animal "people" food either. But just like with pets, we think it's "loving" and "cute" to do so. There's always some bad side to it - whether it's aggressive behavior in wild animals, begging in our pets or health issues (obesity, pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, etc) - so it's best to just avoid this altogether!

This was as close as we got. I didn't try to touch her OR offer her any food!

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