Wintry weather is pushing wildlife into cities and towns across the western part of the United States and Canada. Elk, deer, moose and other animals are heading to the lowlands and predators are following them.
Along Utah’s Wasatch Front over one weekend alone, a mountain goat wandered into Cottonwood Heights, three mountain lions — one of which peered through a window — visited a home at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon, and Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) biologists and officers tranquilized and moved a cow moose and its calf from Bountiful.
“It seems like something unusual is happening, but given the conditions this year, it’s predictable,” said Darren DeBloois, DWR biologist. “The mountains have finally received a decent amount of snow. That’s pushing the animals to lower elevations, where the snow isn’t as deep and food is easier to find.”
DeBloois says three additional factors — healthy wildlife populations, an increasing human population and more people with cameras on their houses — come into play too. He urges everyone to remain at a distance of wildlife for the sake of human safety and to not cause animals any undue stress.
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(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)