COLORADO SPRINGS — Local and state agencies are reminding residents that it is illegal to feed wildlife, particularly big-game animals.

According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), feeding wildlife can cause disastrous results for both animals and humans. For example, when people place food out for deer, mountain lions can also be attracted. In addition, animals that are meant to obtain their food naturally may grow accustomed to getting food in more urban populated areas like neighborhoods.

“Over time, predators such as bears and mountain lions become less wary and more emboldened,” CPW writes. “They’re more likely to attack pets and people, and when that happens, it can spell death for bears and lions, which often must be destroyed to ensure public safety.”

In addition to disrupting animals’ natural feeding habits, human involvement can also lead to health issues.

“Habituation to artificial feeds that do not meet their nutritional needs often results in deer that are in poor condition,” explains Bob Davies, a wildlife biologist in Colorado Springs. Unlike natural foods, treats from people often cannot be digested properly by big game. In fact, “human food” can stop a wild animal’s digestive system, causing it to get sick and die.”

These are just a few reasons why it is illegal to feed big-game. In 1992, Colorado passed a law that prohibits people from feeding animals such as deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bears.

Violators can face a $100 fine.

For more information about why you should not feed big-game animals, visit CPW’s website.