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 is cautioning residents that such resources will attract wildlife that may then come into conflict with people.
“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.
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.
AZGFD Regional Supervisor Raul Vega said 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.”