Spring is the time for bears in Issaquah and throughout many parts of the Pacific Northwest.
In our area, there have been several sightings this year, which serve as a reminder to take precautions to avoid bear encounters.
Unsecured garbage carts, pet food and birdfeeders can attract hungry animals looking for a meal.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers the following tips to prevent conflicts between bears and humans:
• Never intentionally feed bears or other wild animals.
• Keep garbage cans in a garage or another secure area until collection day. • Remove pet food from areas accessible to wildlife.
• Take down birdfeeders until winter. • Thoroughly clean barbecue grills after each use.
• When camping, keep a clean campsite by thoroughly cleaning all cooking utensils after use and sealing uneaten food in airtight containers stored in bear-resistant canisters away from sleeping areas.
If you happen to encounter a bear, WDFW offers the following advice:
• Do not run from the animal. • Pick up small children.
• Stand tall, wave your arms above your head and shout. • Do not approach the animal and be sure to leave it an escape route.
• Try to get upwind of the bear so that it can identify you as a human and leave the area.
Conflicts between humans and bears tend to subside by mid-summer, when berries and other natural foods become available, and then pick up again in fall before the animals enter their dens.
Learn more about wildlife safety and living in bear country from WDFW’s Living With Wildlife program and the nonprofit organization Western Wildlife Outreach.
Woodland Park Zoo will also educate Northwesterners about what happens when food is not properly stored or garbage is carelessly left out in bear territory.
Bear Affair: Pacific Northwest Conservation, is a family-friendly, educational event focused on bears, wolves, raptors and other Pacific Northwest wildlife, what these animals need to survive in the wild and how humans can co-exist.
Scientist and conservationist Chris Morgan will join the zoo in illuminating the world of bears as the zoo’s hulking grizzly bears stumble upon a rest site where camping gear and kayaks, donated by Northwest Outdoor Center, are stored improperly.
In another scenario, the bears will scavenge through the aftermath of a birthday party in a residential backyard, where a BearSaver wildlife-resistant cart provided by CleanScapes will put their foraging prowess to a test.
CleanScapes, the waste hauler for most Issaquah neighborhoods, offers the BearSaver carts to its Issaquah customers.
Bear Affair: Pacific Northwest Conservation will be from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. June 8, 2013, at the zoo. Find more information about the event, admission and ticketing at the Woodland Park Zoo website, or call 206.548.2500 or 548.2599 (TTY).