Ungulates in Northern BC may be struggling through winter with all the snow we’ve gotten.
Ungulates are hoofed mammals such as elk, moose, deer, and sheep.
One thing that could be difficult for the animals is finding food, potentially opening the door for the public to feed them, but that might not necessarily be in their best interest.
“You are providing them with food which can help them get through a difficult period we just need to be aware of the risks associated with that too, if it’s not done in a good manner then we can be actually doing more harm than good,” explains First Nations and Stakeholder Engagement Biologist Mark Wong.
“The change in the gut bacteria can cause them to get sick and die.”
This is because the animals have specific food requirements that can be fatal if unsafely modified.
“Most people would want to try to help out our ungulates by starting a feeding program or something like that but there are negative consequences to that,” says Wong.
“One of them is just the changing of the diet from their winter feed to summer feed when it may not be quite ready to do so.”
Wong says a preventative measure people can do is create more winter habitats for deer in the summer to help with tough winters like the one we are currently in.