People, Environment

DOE: Feed Stray, Wild Animals Only When Necessary

Stray animals grow dependent on humans if fed constantly.Stray animals grow dependent on humans if fed constantly.

Although the act of feeding stray animals or leaving them the remains of food may be out of love and sympathy, experts maintain that it does more harm than good.

"Professionally speaking, humans must let these animals go about their day as they naturally would," Mohammad Darvish, director of the Public Participation Office at the Department of Environment, said.

He stressed that giving food and water to animals will expose them to more serious harms in the long run as they gradually become domesticated, content and dependent on humans and their tolerance of poor conditions decline.

"As they become conditioned by habit, learn to trust humans and rest assured that easy food will be supplied, they will stop making efforts to improve their conditions," he was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Darvish pointed to the increasing number of mice across the city, blaming it partly on cats' easy access to trouble-free sources of food.

"Cats have no motivation to catch mice because food is either provided by people or easily found in dumpsters," said the official.

However, remaining indifferent toward living things is not a favorable approach either. A wise and eco-friendly way of helping animals is to supply food and water in extremely critical conditions like excessive cold when waters freeze and vegetation is covered by snow and ice.

"Concerned people can break the ice on the surface of water sources or create a makeshift waterhole so animals can drink, and provide food," said Darvish, adding that the food should be given in small quantities and the act should not become a habit.

As long as water is not frozen and birds and other stray animals can find their own food, people must allow them to live through hard conditions themselves like they naturally do in the wild.  

Darvish was quick to add that help should be provided when an animal is injured and clearly incapable of fending for itself.

"It's always good to help an animal in need," he said.

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