TUCSON, Ariz. – Weeks of sustained temperatures nearing or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit has led some area residents to take pity on local wildlife by providing them with food and water.
However, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is cautioning residents that such resources will attract wildlife that may then come into conflict with people. In addition, feeding prey species will eventually attract predatory wildlife, which may also take advantage of unsecured pets and poultry in yards.
Feeding wildlife, other than birds and tree squirrels, is unlawful in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa counties. The maximum penalty for the offense is a $300 fine.
“If people are intent on helping wildlife through this hot, dry period, we recommend providing only water in shallow bowls or saucers, and cleaning the dishes out every two days, until the monsoon rains ease the extreme weather conditions,” said Urban Wildlife Specialist Locana de Souza of Game and Fish in Tucson.
AZGFD Regional Supervisor Raul Vega noted that most desert wildlife is adapted to extreme heat. “The heat impacts birds and rabbits the most,” Vega said. “Don’t place water for them too close to homes, and keep birdbaths and hummingbird feeders full if you have them.”
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has trust responsibility for managing more than 800 native wildlife species – the most of any inland state – for current and future generations of Arizona citizens.