Protecting yourself and wildlife; What experts say you need to do if you live in high traffic area for animals

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OUACHITA PARISH, LA (KTVE/KARD)- Many consider the “Sportsman’s Paradise” as one of the beauty’s of Louisiana. From black bears to bobcats, they’re all residents in the state…just like you.
However, with recent events, you may seem them rooming into your yard and neighborhood.

“When you live close to a wooded area a lot of these animals may come close to your backyard. You do not want to approach these animals. they are wild animals. They may look friendly and it may look like you can get up close to them, but you do not want to do that,” said Lisa Taylor, general Curator at the zoo.

Due to the pandemic, the woods have been quiet, allowing the animals to wander and the hurricanes have displaced many from their homes. For a more natural reason, it’s Foraging season, meaning the animals are finding green grass and acorns to eat. Which may be found in your yard.
So, how do you keep your family, pets, and wildlife safe?

“They should basically give the animal space. You can go back into the house and get your pets inside until the animal has left the premises. You can even make a noise. The noise usually scares the animal away,” said Taylor.

Using a firearm to scare off the animals is the wrong way to get rid of them and can actually get you in major trouble. Instead, officials say call your local wildlife and fisheries agency.

“Respect the animals because it is their home that you have moved into. Then give them time to habituate you living there and to know to stay away from your residency,” said Taylor.

A way to prevent wildlife from coming to your house, don’t leave food outside. Feeding wild animals will encourage those animals to remain in the vicinity of a new food source.

“Believe me they can find food in the woods and in their areas that they can munch on,” said Taylor.

While you can’t get close to wild animals in your backyard, you can see them up close at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. The zoo will be having its grand reopening tomorrow starting from 10 am to 4 pm.

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