Spring is in the air or will be soon and that means wildlife young will be present again in abundance. It’s a good time to underline a few good tips for coexisting with our local wildlife.

Consider where you take your dogs, particularly those off leash. Not only are deer fawn and elk calves very vulnerable, but their mothers can also be highly protective and even injure or kill a dog they consider a threat to their young. The same is true of bears, cougar, coyotes and wolves. For example, wolves seem to think dogs are just very strange looking wolves, which genetically they essentially are. The biggest threat to wolf pups that will be born in the next few weeks are strange wolves from rival packs, and wolves have successfully evolved being highly protective parents. In the spring especially, avoid taking dogs unleashed near where wolves are denning so they don’t frighten or harm a dog in an effort to protect their newborn pups. The same is true as bear are waking up from hibernation with their cubs.

Don’t disturb nests or young animals if you find them. Many a deer fawn, duckling and even a wolf pup have been scooped up by well-meaning hikers only to learn that it’s best to leave these young where they find them and trust that mom is close by. Cats can also have much more of an impact on nesting birds and young hatchlings in the spring. Consider a bright collar, bells or keeping kitty indoors until chicks have fledged and left their nests. Enjoy the wonders of our natural world but please keep a distance.

Suzanne Asha Stone

Director, The International Wildlife Coexistence Network

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