Regarding the terrapins, just for interest sake, and not at all to soften the issue…. I also think it is a disgrace that people are feeding these animals
….but out of personal experience, it really does not take much for a wild terrapin to take food from humans and when they do this, it also does not necessarily mean they will become 100% dependant on humans.
To make a long story short: One night, in Maputo, I ended up with a bag containing 3 half-dead terrapins (taken from the wild…not by me…somebody wanted to sell them…he did not get paid!
)…I immediately put them in my bath (what a smell!) and the two bigger ones started showing life. I cooked some chicken for them and first just threw the chicken into the water, hoping they will eat it…but they were too exhaust. Eventually I took the pieces of chicken and physically held it in front of their mouths….just like that, they started eating out of my hand…and kept on doing so for the 3 days I had them…eventually put them outside in big plastic container (realized they need sun) and every time I went closer the 2 larger ones would get on top of the rocks I placed inside, begging for food.
I have to admit, I broke laws to get them to a safe haven where I could released them (the smaller one died the night before “the evacuation”
)….afterwards, I once again saw one at this spot where they were released …and it was once again just another wild terrapin.
IMHO, people are somewhat underestimating the intelligence of animals with the idea of “they will starve because they are dependant on humans”….well actually it is more about instinct than intelligence. The threat pose to wild animal by feeding them is not that they will die of hunger; the threat rather lies in their association with the most dangerous animal on earth…humans. A terrapin being fed will for sure not sit and die of hunger if there are no people coming past, but it might be squashed by a car not noticing a terrapin rushing to it to be fed…..same goes for the hyenas being fed…..the threat for the animal lies in the fact that it will mistakenly see a child’s finger as a yet another piece of boerewors and eventually get shot for the attack. To see how the will to survive takes over from all habitual human dependencies, one just need to look at how once domesticated cats and dogs somehow survive as feral animals in cities all over the world. Feeding wild animals is wrong, but not because the animals are stupid, it is because the same human hand that so easily feeds them will also kill them….and their association with humans makes them soft targets.