SHENANDOAH NAT’L PARK — Reports are coming in that a visitor in Shenandoah National Park is attempting to feed the wildlife by any means necessary.
Jessica Thalmier, a visitor from Fredericksburg, VA, is completely set on feeding the wild animals she has come in contact with during her stay at the park. Shenandoah, however, has numerous warning signs posted throughout that instruct visitors not to feed the wildlife.
“I just really think I have this connection with nature,” said Jessica in an interview after her morning sunrise yoga session. “The fauna and I are just really engaged, like a real bond within. It’s something special.”
Jessica has reportedly been attempting to feed parts of an apple to deer, rabbits, and at least one coyote. One park ranger, Timothy Drestock noticed her reaching her hand to a cautious deer and quickly informed her of the park’s policy towards feeding the wildlife.
“We don’t allow it because it can cause animals to become habituated towards humans & their food, which could be potentially dangerous,” explained Drestock.
Another Shenandoah patron, Kenny Charleston, of Tappahannock, denounced her actions. “The signs are in plain sight all over the place, how hard is it to follow?”
Even with the warnings, however, Jessica remains determined to feed any animals she comes across. “I bought all of this granola from a boutique shop, I know they’ll love it. Plus, it’s local and organic.”
Park ranger Drestock announced that he and his team will continue to pursue Jessica throughout her wildlife-feeding spree, until she attempts to feed a black bear. “When that happens, we normally just step back and try to let the problem sort itself out.”