Wild predators now get half of their food from people

Wild predators like wolves, mountain lions, and bobcats are now getting nearly half of their food from human beings. That marks a large shift away from their more traditional food source: the natural world. Worse, the trend could mean increased conflict between species as they compete for resources, or more human-carnivore encounters, Wired reports. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of New Mexico used hair, bone, and fur samples to determine whether predators were relying directly on human food sources—rummaging through trash bins, for instance—or indirectly, by preying on smaller animals that eat trash, like mice and rabbits. They were able to confirm that the predators in their study were eating human food, and most of it from what we discard, or … wait for it … by eating our pets. And what food did they eat the most? “Human foods like corn, because we give corn to everything,” said the lead researcher.

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