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County bans feeding wildlife

It’s now illegal to feed wildlife in hamlets or subdivisions in Brazeau County. Council passed the Prohibition of Wildlife Feeding Bylaw at its Tuesday meeting.

The bylaw was introduced in part in response to a letter from Chiarastella Feder, a Wildlife Biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks, Rocky Mountain House.

“Feeding wildlife, such as foxes, deer, moose and squirrels, to enjoy their sighting on our land and a perceived closer connection with the wildlife, has become an increasingly common practice in many communities,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, this well-intentioned action has numerous negative consequences and regularly creates serious problems that cannot be ignored. The animals, once accustomed to human provided food, lose their natural fear of people, which results in a series of issues. Addressing these issues often results in the wildlife being destroyed or dying because of diseases.”

There were some concerns among council that the initial draft bylaw might impact farmers who unintentionally feed wildlife while feeding their livestock. As a result the bylaw was amended to make clear it was only intended to apply in hamlets and named multi-lot subdivisions.

Under the bylaw “Wildlife means non-domesticated animals that are wild by nature and living in their natural habitat, including Dangerous Wildlife, but does not include feral cats.”

Bird feeders are still permitted as long as they are not accessible by other wildlife.

Director of Community Services Lee Chambers said that once the bylaw was passed by council, educational material would be distributed to the community to ensure the public was aware of the new regulations.

Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press