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How to coexist with wildlife in urban and suburban areas

Chris Anderson from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shares some dos and don'ts for living with wildlife. #newdaynw

Humans have long shared the earth with animals and even in urban settings, we come into contact with wildlife every day.

Residents in the Seattle area often encounter wildlife like raccoons, and recently, coyotes.

Chris Anderson from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife joined New Day NW to talk about how we can coexist with these furry neighbors.

In Anderson’s opinion there has not been an increase in urban wildlife. He said more people are packed into King County than 15 or 20 years ago, but the department is seeing the same kinds of reports and complaints that came in back then as they do now.

“[There are] just a lot of folks that haven’t perhaps seen it before both due to being new to the area, but also COVID and lockdown as well,” Anderson said. “And security cameras, things like that. People are noticing things. They have more options.”

There have been coyote sightings recently in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, but Anderson said they’re really everywhere. 

So what should one do if they spot a coyote while out with their dog? Anderson said owners of smaller dogs should pick up their pet if they see a coyote because the wild animals see smaller animals as potential prey. 

Bigger dogs can make coyotes feel threatened, especially near their dens, so it’s best to avoid walking them in areas where, or during times that, you know you might see one. 

As for raccoons, Anderson said it isn't okay to feed them.

He said it’s dangerous for both the raccoons and humans involved. When many raccoons are concentrated in one area, they can pass diseases to each other, like canine distemper. As for humans and our pets, raccoons can hurt both of us if they get scared or aggressive.

“They’re still a wild animal, and they’re unpredictable,” Anderson said. “Racoons can do some heavy damage to both you or your dog or children.”

Whether it's coyotes or raccoons, keeping attractants away and not giving any form of wildlife the opportunity to cause harm to themselves or others is important.

“They’ve got enough, and they’ll be fine.”

For more information on how to prevent conflict with coyotes and other wild animals, see the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

RELATED: Stop feeding deer to prevent spread of deadly virus, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says

Segment Producer Amity Addrisi. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.