...and our furry friends are becoming active!
In past years, our schools have often sent out notices anytime a community member reported seeing a potentially risky animal in the general area. That practice has led to many, many “wildlife sighting” E-News messages to families. This season, we will continue to alert you when there is a pattern of sightings or when—working with wildlife and emergency officials—we have reason to believe the animal is an actual threat. We hope this will allow you to better distinguish if and when more significant action is necessary. Also, please be confident that school staff and bus drivers will never let a student out of their care into any situation where they believe an animal might be a threat. In the meantime, please continually remind your children that they are in the presence of wildlife every time they walk to and from school or play outside their home. A community “sighting” is just a reminder that coyotes, cougars, bears, bobcats, and other animals ALWAYS live around our residences and schools. Here are safety tips to keep in front of your students and family year round:
- Never make direct eye-contact with a threatening animal.
- Never turn and run away from a wild animal; slowly back away from the animal and make yourself appear as big as possible.
- Never feed or interact with any unknown animal.
- Report any unknown animal sighting to an adult.
- Keep garbage and compost piles securely covered.
- Keep pet food and water inside and keep pets indoors or confined in a kennel or covered exercise yard.
- Do not feed wildlife on the ground, keep wild bird seed in elevated feeders designed for birds, and clean up spilled seed from the ground.
- Do not feed feral cats; coyotes prey on the cats and feed on cat food left out for them.
- Minimize ground cover vegetation near children's play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that in turn attract predators.
- Use noise-making devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and weapons ordinances.
- Report a potentially dangerous wild animal to the Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife Dangerous Animal Hotline at 1-800-477-6224. Call 911 for all emergencies.