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Posted on: May 13, 2022

Tips: Living Near Wildlife

Issaquah is surrounded by natural beauty but it is always a good reminder that living in close proximity to wildlife has its own unique challenges.

As human populations increase rapidly in King County, the distance between wild habitat and human development shrinks, resulting in increasing contact―and at times conflict―between wildlife and people.

Below are some tips for living near wildlife and coexisting with carnivores peacefully.

Home

  • Keep garbage cans in a garage or another secure area until collection day.
  • Remove pet food from areas accessible to wildlife.
  • Thoroughly clean barbecue grills after each use.
  • Take down birdfeeders until later in summer.
  • Install chimney caps.

In Nature

  • When camping, keep a clean campsite by thoroughly cleaning all cooking utensils after use and sealing uneaten food in airtight containers stored in bear-proof canisters away from sleeping areas.
  • While encounters with bears and cougars are extremely rare, here are some tips:
    • If you encounter a bear, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers the following advice:
      • Don't run.
      • 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.
    • If you encounter a cougar, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers the following advice:
      • Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack. Remember, at close range, a cougar’s instinct is to chase.
      • Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
      • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Get above it (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.
      • Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
      • Never approach the cougar, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens, and never offer it food.

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