Pine Lake Middle School advised parents today that there has been a report of a bear sighting on Issaquah Pine Lake Road. The city of Issaquah advises all community members to take precautions to reduce their likelihood of an encounter. For example, unsecured garbage containers, pet food and birdfeeders can attract hungry bears looking for a meal.
The schools asks parents to please continually remind 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 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.
Here are some additional safety tips from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW):
- 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.
- Thoroughly clean barbecue grills after each use.
- Take down birdfeeders until later in summer.
- 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.
In the event of an actual encounter with a bear, 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.
For more information, click here.
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.