Niagara Parks to add signage hoping to stop public from feeding animals


Published May 16, 2023 at 4:23 pm

This is not a Niagara Parks sign but soon they will have a number of similar signs up, asking the public to please stop feeding the animals.

Soon, Niagara Parks will be erecting signs through several of their properties, asking people not to feed the wildlife.

At the moment, municipalities across Southern Ontario, including some in Niagara, have begun implementing new bylaw regulations, including fines, in attempt to control the issue and its significant impacts to animals and communities.

Coyotes, for example, are getting more brazen with the public and Niagara-on-the-Lake is considering bylaws to deal with the issue.

While most of the public consider it to be a “seemingly harmless act,” in actual fact, Niagara Parks said, “Wildlife feeding can lead to unusual or aggressive behaviour, overcrowding and the transmission of disease, growth disorders, malnutrition, delayed or failed migration leading to winter death, an increase in rodents and other pests, degradation of water quality and park lands, as well as other negative impacts to our broader ecosystem.”

New signs will be placed at Dufferin Islands, where the issue is especially severe, as well as Kingsbridge Park and the Botanical Gardens, informing guests that wildlife feeding of any kind, regardless of the type of food, is prohibited on Niagara Parks property.

Niagara Parks also pointed to the deadly strain of avian flu in Southern Ontario, which “has further heightened the dangers of wildlife feeding at Niagara Parks, especially as a recognized Internationally Important Bird Area that is home to numerous bird species. While all bird species are susceptible to infection, domestic poultry flocks (chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks and geese, etc.) are more likely to become severely ill and die when infected.”

Not long ago, the Toronto Zoo shut down its aviaries due to a case of avian flu found in a West Lincoln farm.

First, Niagara Parks will try to educate the public using “staff ambassadors at Dufferin Islands beginning on the Victoria Day long weekend. Staff ambassadors will engage with guests and help them to understand the significant risks that result from feeding wildlife (including all birds and waterfowl) and that as a result, it is prohibited on Niagara Parks property.”

However, the group is willing play hardball with repeat offenders, saying, “there is the possibility of charges and fines under the Trespass to Property Act.”

As well, the Niagara Parks Police Service will be on hand to “engage with the public to address the issue.”

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