WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reminds visitors to Corps-managed natural areas to exercise caution if wild animals are encountered. The potential for conflict between humans and threatening wildlife exists since the District hosts 8 million visitors annually at its eight water resource projects in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho in the Snake-Columbia rivers basin.
Warmer months are rearing seasons for young wildlife. A seemingly harmless walk on a nature trail can suddenly change to a dangerous encounter with wildlife. Young wildlife may not yet have enough experience with humans to avoid interactions. Parents of newborn or juvenile wildlife may attack humans to protect their young.
Cougars have recently been sighted at the District’s Rice Bar Habitat Management Unit on the Snake River downstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam.
Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and familiar with appropriate responses to wildlife that pose a threat. Different species of threatening wildlife may require different types of responses.
If you encounter threatening wildlife on Corps lands and need immediate assistance, contact local law enforcement, state fish and game department, or Corps of Engineers officials, but remember that cell phones generally do not work in remote areas. Once you are safe, report encounters to local law enforcement officials.
If you encounter seemingly abandoned young wildlife, do not touch or attempt to rescue them. Leaving young animals alone while the adults forage nearby is part of their learning experience that will help them survive on their own. Leave the area quickly, and do not disturb young wildlife, as their mother is almost always nearby. Only contact the State Fish and Game agency or local sheriff if the animal appears sick or seriously injured, or you were threatened.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) “Living with Wildlife-Cougars (Mountain Lions)” Web page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/cougars.html provides suggestions for what to do if you encounter a cougar or other wild cat. WDFW also provides suggestions for black bear encounters at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bears.html. For information about grizzly bear encounters, see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Living with Grizzlies” fact sheet at http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/grizzlyBears/. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Web page at http://dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/human_interactions.asp provides suggestions for wolf encounters. Information about encounters with other potentially threatening wildlife is available at WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/dangerous/.
The Walla Walla District is comprised of approximately 107,000 square miles in portions of six states. The District stretches from the Tri-Cities in Washington to the headwaters of the Snake River in Jackson, Wyo., and includes the entire Snake River basin and a portion of the Columbia River basin. For more information about the District, go to www.nww.usace.army.mil.