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Facts about Food Waste and Wildlife


Facts about Food Waste and Wildlife

We all remember Yogi Bear and his constant quest to steal “pic-a-nic” baskets, but little did we know how close real life would soon imitate the 1950’s cartoon.  OK, bears across the country aren’t outwitting hapless park rangers in order to steal food – they don’t have to.  All they have to do for a quick meal is head to the local dump. Bears aren’t alone, however.  Food waste is having a major effect on wildlife on both land and sea.  Check out these facts about food waste and wildlife.

Other predatory animals like wolves and wild cats are seeing a population increase in areas with easy access to human food waste.  Studies are showing, however, that these animals are becoming less and less likely to hunt or forage for food the old fashioned way and becoming more and more dependent upon our trash as a food source.

This dependency poses a unique problem because as society becomes more aware of the environmental impacts of food waste and takes action to reduce it, wildlife will once again be affected by its absence.

A study recently conducted in France in which a landfill was deliberately removed showed a 49% reduction in the population of the gulls that lived there.  The removal of their prime food source at best caused the birds to move to a better location and at worst caused some to starve to death.

Sadly, it’s not just the organic waste that wildlife is consuming. Often times deadly chemical based plastics are being ingested as well – and our oceans are full of it.  Sea animals that naturally prey on jellyfish are mistaking plastic bags for meals, and birds that dine on fish eggs are accidently feeding their young plastic resins instead.

The good news is that we as a society are becoming more educated on the impacts of our actions and have the power to take steps to alleviate the problem. You can start by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting your waste at home – and helping to spread the word!


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Cari Oberfield