Tips for wildlife encounters
Wednesday, Park City and Summit county sustainability officials met to discuss a proposed advertising blitz aimed at educating the community about wildlife in the Round Valley area.
In collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR, the campaign will highlight tips on how to avoid encounters with local wildlife.
Park City Environmental Sustainability Manager Diane Foster called the program a significant educational campaign, spanning newspaper, radio advertisements and door-to-door contacts.
In addition, the city and county will partner and help local non-profits get the word out, including the Wildlife Protection Society, Mountain Trails Foundation, and Friends of Animals.
Foster said there have not been an unusual number of reports with local wildlife but that the campaign is designed to err on the side of caution, educating the community about preventing the encounters in the first place.
"[The number of reports] isn’t unusual, but there has been one report of an aggressive animal locally," Foster said.
This spring a man in Round Valley reported encountering a small group of coyotes behaving aggressively, however, the man was not attacked. This is the only report this year of aggressive animals in the immediate area.
The partnership between city and county offices is an important part of educating the whole Round Valley community, Foster said.
Because the city and county are considering acquiring more open space, Sustainability Coordinator for the County Ashley Koehler said as the city and county go to those areas there will a much bigger chance of encountering wildlife.
"We want to educate the community on some of the wildlife they’ll be seeing in those places," Koehler said. "It’s a proactive approach."
The campaign is specifically designed to give people tips on how to prevent encounters with animals, Koehler said. The list will include actions people can take to avoid conflict with animals, with the goal of greatly reducing the number of local reports.
In addition, the campaign will try to direct people to a streamlined reporting center, possibly with the Summit County Animal Control Department, Koehler said.
The campaign is only in its most preliminary stages said Foster, but will begin sometime in the next two to three weeks. Foster advised that people can start taking action to prevent encounters now.
Koehler explained that oftentimes coyotes or other animals will be attracted to dog or cat food left on a back porch and simply bringing that food in each night can reduce the chances of encountering wildlife near your home.
Wild Aware Utah is another organization devoted to educating people about wildlife around the state. A collaboration between Hogle Zoo, Utah State University, Wildlife Protection Society and the Utah DWR, Wild Aware Utah has many tips and facts to keep people informed and safe.
For more tips and information on local wildlife, visit wildawareutah.org.
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