(KTNV) — Park rangers are reminding visitors that feeding wildlife in Death Valley National Park is illegal after a recent coyote death.
A National Park Service spokesperson said in a news release that the coyote was begging for food when it was struck and killed by a car on Christmas Day.
The coyote was known to park rangers for its habit of foraging along Badwater Road near Golden Canyon.
Park manager Mike Reynolds said rangers shot the coyote with paintball guns and pepper spray to try to keep it off the road.
“The only thing the coyote learned was to stay away from park rangers!” Reynolds said.
Feeding wild animals in national parks often results in their deaths, Park Service officials said.
“Wild animals fed human food learn to cross roads when they see a car coming,” the researchers said. “They learn that this behavior sometimes triggers the car to stop and feed.”
Feeding wild animals in a national park can not only cause the animal’s death, but can also result in hefty fines and prison sentences.
The maximum penalty for feeding park wildlife is a $5,000 fine and up to one year in prison, according to the National Park Service.