Now, until the end of June/early July, young animals will be out and about all over the mountain, learning from their parents about the necessities of life and how to survive on their own.
While baby animals are cute and look cuddly, it is important to remember they are wild animals – always keep your distance and never interact with them. More importantly, keep dogs close by and, ideally, on a leash.
Getting too close to young animals could lead to an aggressive reaction from protective parent(s) that can put you, your family, or your dogs in danger.
In 2022, there were a few notable negative wildlife encounters involving pets chasing coyote pups and deer, and mother bears with cubs getting into attractants like garbage cans, bird feeders and BBQs.
If we all do our part, we can prevent negative interactions like this from happening. Be aware of our wildlife neighbours and their behaviours at this time of year, be respectful and give all wildlife space, and keep dogs on a leash.
If you find a baby animal and suspect that it has been abandoned, do not attempt to rescue or move it. Contact the Conservation Officer Service R.A.P.P. line at Call 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.
Bears, coyotes, and deer are examples of local species that are commonly observed on our properties, as well as when we are walking or biking on- or off-road.
Remember to always make noise when away from the built-up area around your home to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear, and never get between a mother bear and her cubs. This will almost always result in an aggressive response that could end terribly. Keep attractants like garbage, bird feeders, pet food and BBQs secured and clean, so cubs don’t become habituated and ultimately a safety problem.
Coyote pups are now active and exploring outside their dens. Coyote parents are extremely protective of their young and the area surrounding the den site. If you see a coyote, assume there may be pups nearby. Keep your distance and secure your dog.
Female deer have started giving birth. If you come across a newborn or young fawn in a grassy or shrubby area without its mother nearby, this is normal – the fawn has not been abandoned.
Deer (as well as elk and moose) hide their young for long periods of time while foraging. A fawn that has been moved by humans often cannot be successfully reunited with its mother, as she will not search for a baby that has been moved from its hiding sport or she may reject it because it no longer smells like her fawn.
Rattlesnakes are also moving about, so it is important to be extra careful when you are out walking and hiking, especially if you bring your dog along. The most common cause of dogs being bitten by a rattlesnake is when they are off leash; there have already been four of these encounters in the Okanagan, according to a Kelowna vet hospital.
If you are going off-road or off-trail, it is always a good idea to wear sturdy footwear, cover your legs, and watch where you are walking. Snakes can be seen sunning on rocks or paved roads or hiding in holes or under rock piles. They are generally shy, but if startled or threatened, they could react by trying to bite.
Many subdivisions on Anarchist have had recent resident sightings of the following species:
- Active coyote den with pups – Mule Deer Point (both sides of the road) and below Mule Deer area in the conservation area
- Bears with cubs and young bears under two years – Bullmoose, Sasquatch, Peregrine
- Rattlesnakes – Peregrine, Mule Deer, Bullmoose, Bighorn and Blacktail
The Wildlife Safety Awareness Program has received resident reports of various wildlife on their property which serves to be informative to others in the area. While it is natural for our local wildlife to have their routes that they pass through, it is important that we continue to educate each other so that we are aware and promote a positive co-existence.
A good reminder while walking and cycling is to make noise, carry bear spray and keep your pet on leash, especially for the next couple of months.