FORT KNOX, Ky. — Well-meaning people who feed, rescue or otherwise interact with wildlife at Fort Knox are not doing themselves or the animals any favors, say post wildlife biologists.“Because we’re not mowing every stitch of grass right now, we’re seeing more habitat in the urban environment and more wildlife this time of year,” said Mike Brandenburg, chief wildlife biologist with the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch. “People should understand that wildlife live here, too. They were here before us, and they’ll be here after we’re gone.”He said problems with wildlife are often the result of misguided human interference.“Where we get into issues and wildlife begins to be a nuisance is after people have tried to help them,” Brandenburg said. “We see this most often with raccoons. People think they’re cute and they feed them, but then they become dependent on humans.“Now, they are no longer wary of people but see them as food sources instead of something to avoid.”The situation grows worse as more and more people come into contact with the animals, said Brandenburg.“One person feeds the animal, thinking he’s helping it. The next person sees a wild animal that’s become belligerent and demanding food,” Brandenburg said. “When animals become dependent, they become a nuisance, and then they’re knocking over everyone’s trashcans and making a mess.”“One person feeds the animal, thinking he’s helping it. The next person sees a wild animal that’s become belligerent and demanding food,” Brandenburg said. “When animals become dependent, they become a nuisance, and then they’re knocking over everyone’s trashcans and making a mess.”Brandenburg said past problems led to the garrison’s Policy Memo 6-05, “Control of Pest Animals,” which prohibits the feeding wild animals knowingly or otherwise.“There are two types of offenders: those who consciously feed the wildlife, and those who are inadvertently feeding them by leaving their pet’s food outside,” Brandenburg said. “If you’re doing that, it’s a guarantee that you’re drawing raccoons and skunks.”Abundant food sources in neighborhoods leads to more dependent animals, said Brandenburg.“Now they’re fat and slick, and they’re having more babies because they’re well-fed and have an endless food source,” Brandenburg said. “They’re teaching their babies to be dependent on humans, too.”Brandenburg said wildlife rescues are also detrimental to animals on post.“The biggest thing we hear is people who have found abandoned fawns, but they don’t know about deer biology,” Brandenburg said. “Most often, those fawns are waiting for their mother. We tell people not to touch them; leave them alone.“In nearly all cases, we tell people to let wildlife stay wild. You’re only hurting the ecological cycle if you interfere.”Brandenburg explained that he’s heard many reports this year of coyote sightings, but he said residents shouldn’t be too concerned.“Every year we get calls about coyotes, and because of their family resemblance to the wolf, people fear that their kids are in danger,” Brandenburg said. “Having coyotes in the urban space is a sure bet, but there’s never been a recorded instance of a coyote attack in Kentucky and they are the biggest constraint to other animals getting out of control.“For the most part, they avoid humans.” Brandenburg said.Brandenburg said the best rule of thumb is for humans keep their distance and observe nature from afar.Note: Contact Knox Hills Maintenance at 502-799-6565 for problems with pests or wildlife in housing areas. Call in a service order for pests or wildlife in the cantonment area at 502-624-1171. Call the Directorate of Emergency Services at 502-624-1070 about road-killed deer in the cantonment area.