24/7 buffet for wildlife in Stanley Park

If you are a wild animal in Vancouver, you should head to Stanley Park for a free easy meal. Open garbage cans are abundant and feature some of the best grub in town featuring popcorn, half-eaten hot dogs, candy bars, potato chips and the odd soggy ice cream cone. Don’t worry too much about the “no feeding wildlife” signs. Not only are tourists still willing to give handouts, the city of Vancouver doesn’t even wildlife-proof the garbage cans!

Located about 1 mile or so from downtown, Stanley Park is the crown jewel of Vancouver. The park is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) and is home to some of the most beautiful cedar, hemlock and fir trees on Earth. This gorgeous green space also provides the ideal habitat for countless eagles, herons, ducks, squirrels, skunks, possums, raccoons and even coyotes.

Attracting over 8 million tourists per year, the city of Vancouver carries a huge responsibility in finding a balance between visitors and the park’s furry permanent residents. You would think that managing garbage and litter must be of paramount importance.

While the park does have signage warning visitors not to feed wildlife, that message becomes meaningless when the majority of the garbage cans throughout the park are not wildlife proof! The rubbish inside (mostly discarded food items) is easily accessible. It’s like a 7-eleven for wildlife.

(Photos were all taken in Stanley Park, Saturday, June 23, 2012)

While, yes, it may seem cute, experts agree that habituating wildlife to human food is a bad idea. It makes them aggressive towards humans, and it’s bad for the animal’s health (hence the signs throughout the park).

Clearly, the Vancouver Parks Board needs to step up to the plate and go beyond posting signs. Wildlife-proof garbage containers are needed, especially in Stanley Park.

Direct your comments to:

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
2099 Beach Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6G 1Z4


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