LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Don't feed the ducks! Don't feed any other wild animals for that matter. It seems harmless, but feeding the birds creates a cycle of problems at our parks.
Las Vegas is reinforcing its rules for city parks and might even fine you. The city council passed an ordinance back in November making it illegal to feed any animals at Las Vegas Parks. Three months later, and the city says it may have to start enforcing it.
"We, quite honestly, received a lot of complaints from the community who are going out to use two parks in particular, Lorenzi and Floyd Lamb, and the overpopulation of waterfowl at those parks," said Greg Weizel, specifically referencing ducks and geese.
Weizel is the director of the parks and recreation department for the city of Las Vegas. He says there are two big problems with feeding waterfowl. First, the flocks become too big and they never leave.
"We think we’re doing a good thing. But what happens is, when you feed them, they don’t migrate. When they don’t migrate, it becomes an overpopulation issue. And then, when there’s too many geese or ducks in one park, you can imagine the mess they leave behind," said Weizel.
That brings us to the second problem. Too many birds means a ton of duck dung and goose poop, which is bad for nearby bodies of water.
"You can see the ponds end up turning super green and mucky and no fish can live in there. Nothing can live in there because of the amount of feces and waste that’s being deposited into the waterways and it’s just too much to handle," said Weizel.
All that fecal matter is also bad for anyone who happens to step in it.
"When we have a lot of ducks and geese and feces around the parks and kids, you can imagine those two don’t mix well. There’s lots of diseases in the waste and the kids can get that. Anybody can get it. As a matter of fact, what happens is, you walk on it and then you go home and you put it on your shoes and you walk in your house. Now, you have salmonella and many other diseases that the waterfowl can carry in their feces," said Weizel.
He says the city isn't trying to ruin anyone's relaxing day at the park, just trying to keep them clean and healthy for humans and animals alike.
"We want people to understand that the wildlife are going to be ok. They are grazers. They will graze on grass. They will fly and find another place to get their food. We don’t need to feed them, but we can enjoy them and enjoy looking at them and watching them. But we don’t want you to interact and we prefer you please do not feed the wildlife," said Weizel.
You can be fined $10 for feeding the wildlife at city parks. City officials say they haven't fined anyone yet and they don't want to. But, if the problem doesn't get better, they'll have no choice.