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Campus wildlife: Tips for safety and coexisting
by Brittney Kupec, Alcohol, Drug and Wellness Educator |
Tips for coexisting with wildlife:
- Do not approach a wild animal. They are not pets, they are wild.
- Cute ≠ friendly, even if it is a baby animal. Also, the baby animal’s mom is likely nearby. Angry momma animals are definitely not nice.
- Do not feed the animals. Human food is not for the animals; it is for humans.
- Call UPD at 907-786-1120 if an animal is aggressive or if you come across a sick animal.
Although the presence of wildlife may delight some and annoy/frighten others, conflicts with wildlife can be avoided if you stay aware and give the animals space. Go about your life (observing from a distance) while giving the animals the respect to go about theirs.
Attacks are rare. However, it is important to know how to most effectively handle the situation.
- Is the moose upset? You can tell if a moose is angry if the hair on the back of its neck stands up and its ears go back.
- If you encounter an angry moose, back away slowly and give the moose some space. If the moose charges you, run and try to find something sturdy to hide behind (like a tree!).
- If you get knocked down by a moose, protect your head and neck by curling into a ball and lying still.
- Be extra cautious around cow moose with calves.
- If you see a bear, stop and take a breath. Try not to panic. You need to first assess
- Does the bear see me? Is it heading in my direction?
- If the bear is a good distance away, doesn’t see you or isn’t approaching you, head away from the bear slowly. Make sure to keep your eyes on the bear at all times.
- If the bear is approaching you:
- Talk to the bear in a calm voice and make yourself look big.
- Even if the bear charges you, hold your ground. This is key because you cannot outrun the bear.
- What to do in a bear attack:
- Grizzly/brown bears – play dead. Lay flat on your stomach while using your hands to protect the back of your neck. Try and remain still until the bear leaves.
- Black bears – do not play dead. Fight back and try to escape. Try and hit the bear where it hurts, on its muzzle and face!