While summer is over, bears are still active here in Issaquah, including in our local neighborhoods.
This year black bears may be more visible or show up in unusual settings because late-summer wild berries, part of bears’ natural diet, are in short supply.
The majority of bear problems begin when people either intentionally, or unintentionally, feed them. Unsecured garbage containers, pet food, litter and birdfeeders can attract hungry bears looking for a meal.
While bears naturally avoid people, the animals can lose their instinctive fear of humans and become increasingly aggressive when they find food through these means.
Here are some tips to reduce the likelihood of an encounter with a bear, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife:
* 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.
* Don’t litter.
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.