What does feeding wildlife do?

Do you feed our native wildlife? Have you ever wondered what the effects are? Learn more about how you can encourage native species to your garden!

There are a number of reasons why it is important NOT to feed wildlife!

  • Unnatural increases in animal numbers can put pressure on surrounding habitat and availability of natural food sources.
  • Unnatural congregated animal interactions can lead to disease outbreaks that cause illness and/or death to a multiple individuals. Some diseases called zoonotic diseases are transmittable from animals to humans, which can be contracted during feeding activities.  
  • Increased aggression is common during wildlife feeding activities. Some species are solitary animals and aggression can arise when in close proximity, particularly over a highly valuable resource.
  • Attract pest species that are enticed by high food source areas. Pest species such as rats, mice and foxes.
  • Attract predator species to an area as a result of increased number of animals. Feeding them could mean they become a snack for someone else!
  • It is an offence in Western Australia to feed native wildlife (without a licence), with fines of up to $20, 000 under section 155 of the Western Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
  • Nutrition imbalances are a common occurrence amongst wildlife that is fed human food. Check out the Australian Magpie example below:

Countless magpies are admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centres across Perth suffering from severe malnutrition due to inappropriate human-fed diets. This on-going lack of nutrition can impact their health; reduce their ability to perform natural tasks such as feeding or perching, reduce their ability to bear young or reproduce healthy young.

An Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) eating it’s natural food source; an insect found at Bibra Lake.

How can I attract native wildlife to my garden?

  • Planting native vegetation; this will help provide them with suitable habitat consisting of food and shelter (Psst… did you know? It will also save water, as our native plants have adapted to hot, dry climates).
  • Providing fresh, clean water sources, especially in the hot summer months.

Want more tips?

  • Check with your local government for native plant and bird bath rebates.
  • Record native wildlife species by downloading citizen science applications and record your findings! BirdLife’s Citizen Science Project launched their Birdata application in October 2021.