Denali National Park and Preserve Keep Wildlife Wild

In recent years Denali Resources Management staff has noted an increase in the number of interactions between humans and park wildlife such as gulls, arctic ground squirrels and foxes. These interactions seem to be universally rooted in animals receiving food for their willingness to come in close proximity to people. The problem is one of human behavior-people feeding wildlife, people not disposing of trash properly, people leaving food unattended at campgrounds and rest stops, and people leaving food scraps behind. Food reward that animals associate with humans can result in their loss of fear of humans. This change in behavior may lead to property damage and human injury. For the animals involved it may mean negative health effects or overpopulation resulting from unnatural food sources, dependence on a seasonably unreliable food source, and greater susceptibility to predators and vehicle collisions.

To reduce the occurrence of these undesirable human/wildlife interactions Denali Resource Management staff developed a program to educate the public using a variety of printed materials about the detrimental effects of approaching and/or feeding wildlife. With funding received in 2002 the park produced a variety of materials including bookmarks, color brochures, buttons and plastic placards and decals (to be placed on picnic tables, trash cans, dumpsters, and inside toilet doors). All the materials contain a universal 'don't feed the wildlife' symbol and the "Keep Wildlife Wild" message.

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