A deer that had been given the name 'Copper' by local residents was killed in Herriman, Utah this week after getting media attention for being so docile that adults and children were able to pose with the animal for pictures. The situation highlights a concern that's on the rise around the nation, as urban areas push further into wild swathes of land. The takeaway is simple – residents of these areas must do their part to keep wildlife wild at the risk of leading to a situation that results in an animal being euthanized.
Copper the deer had become a common sight in the area, known for letting passersby pet him and take photos with him. Officials had warned the public prior to the euthanization that if the deer became a regular in the area, it could cause problems.
"We are hoping people don't befriend it [Copper the deer] and it goes up in the foothills, but if people see it, leave it alone. Everyone loves that picture for Facebook or Instagram, but you're really doing that animal a disservice and maybe giving it a death sentence if it becomes too domesticated," said Scott Root of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, as quoted by Salt Lake City's FOX 13.
Concern over disease meant relocation would not be an option, thus the deer would have to be put down should a situation that required officials to capture it arise.
While there doesn't seem to have been a wild encounter that led to Copper's removal, authorities were forced to respond to the situation when one of the local residents complained.
The result was on par with what officials expected – the deer had become too domesticated and was captured and killed as a result. While a deer or other animal may seem friendly, wild animals are unpredictable and can pose a threat to human life.
This situation obviously took place outside of Colorado, but the takeaway message rings true. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a similar policy of euthanizing animals that pose hazards.
In urban spots like Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Golden, wildlife sightings are very common, especially when it comes to deer. These deer may act friendly, but encouraging human-wildlife interaction can lead to a number of concerns. From increasing the possibility of a dangerous interaction to changing an animal's natural eating habits, there are many reasons to keep wildlife at a distance.
Never feed or pet wildlife, even if it wanders into your backyard. As cute as it might seem to live out a scene from Snow White, your actions could result in the animal getting killed.
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