All of us at Vashon Nature Center are saddened about the recent livestock kill this week. Read Beachcomber article here.
From the time we first learned of the cougar on our shores we have been hoping for a happy ending but also cognizant of the challenges that our community, not used to wild predators, would face. We’d like our island community to see this recent news as another opportunity to become smarter animal owners and we’d like your help in spreading the word.
The cougar has been here for 6 months, the black bear for 3, and coyotes have been here in substantial numbers for more than 10 years now. It is time to accept that they are here, learn about them, and act responsibly. The changes required to protect our animals are inconvenient at least (pets on leash) and expensive and time consuming at most (electric fencing and night shedding animals). Though they minimize risk substantially there are no guarantees. But regardless, these changes have got to happen.
It is our responsibility as a community to educate ourselves about our wild neighbors, to help each other, and to maintain a non-judging atmosphere when experiences like this happen so that we can all feel comfortable sharing and learning from them. We are all learning together.
Our most recent cougar visitor could swim, be killed, or be moved any day. That does not mean we and our animals will be safe from then on out. We are increasingly experiencing wildlife of many types on our island and we need to learn how to act around them. Below we will list some educational links and contacts that may be helpful in this regard.
Living with wildlife is possible and with the right attitudes and actions it is very enjoyable! Let’s work towards this together Vashon.
Helpful links to explore:
VNC living with wildlife pages. We list helpful contacts and numbers and try hard to keep fact sheets current and add info as it becomes available and adding answers to FAQS islanders have as they come up.
Here is an example of contacts on our living with wildlife page:
Islander Amy Holmes works for King County Conservation District and is a livestock owner. She can help livestock owners with livestock protection and farm plans. People have been happy with her practical advice. Thank you Amy. Amy Holmes– firstname.lastname@example.org 425-282-1910
We are not alone! Cougars all over are re-defining what we think of as “cougar habitat”. Read about the Hollywood cougar