Western Wildlife Outreach presents, Coexisting with Large Carnivores
Doors open at 6:30pm for community social and no-host refreshments, presentation begins at 7pm.
Learn about coexisting with large carnivores from Western Wildlife Outreach (WWO). WWO is a Port Townsend, WA nonprofit organization focusing their outreach and education on helping people live, work and recreate near large, wild carnivores –bears, cougars and wolves!
Executive Director Lorna Smith and her husband Darrell Smith, WWO’s Lead Scientist, frequently give talks and demonstrations all around the Pacific Northwest about large carnivore ecology and behavior, providing information on what to do if any of these wild animals are encountered.
“The world needs our top predators. Without them biodiversity and ecological health suffers,” states Lorna.
Numerous areas in and around the Cascade Range support healthy populations of black bear. WWO promotes safe coexistence among black bears, humans, pets, and livestock. Their Grizzly Bear Outreach Project helps to disseminate a more accurate understanding of grizzly bear behavior, as well as information about grizzly recovery in the North Cascades and Selkirk Ecosystems.
This past winter brought a number of cougar encounters to the upper Wenatchee Valley. WWO’s Cougar Outreach provides educational materials about cougar behavior, habitat needs, their prey base, and what to do should you encounter a cougar.
Rich Beausoleil, Bear and Cougar Specialist and Karelian Bear Dog Program lead for WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, will also take part in the evening’s presentation. Beausoleil will be accompanied by his Karelian Bear Dog Indy, and answer questions about non-lethal predator aversion, wildlife issues in the Wenatchee Valley, and preventing wildlife conflicts. Karelian Bear Dogs are trained to haze bears and other wild animals from areas where they are not welcome.
Said Beausoleil, “I was just in downtown Leavenworth Monday [Mar. 25th] because a family of bears was utilizing Enchantment Park due to the amount of attractants people had left out. It is important to understand it is a matter of personal responsibility to avoid conflicts with wildlife.”
WWO’s Gray Wolf Outreach provides current, sound-science as well as techniques to successfully coexist with wolves, and how to employ non-lethal wolf management measures whenever possible. Gray wolf populations are being reestablished across the Western United States and since 2008, have come of their own volition north from Canada into Washington State.
The Smiths are a wildlife biologist-ecologist team and have spent their careers working on wildlife and wildlife habitat related issues, as well as endangered species management. They share a lifelong interest in, and experience with, large carnivores. Lorna has served on boards of directors for a number of Northwest environmental organizations, and has over 30 years of experience managing large conservation projects and campaigns. Darrell, with degrees in both fisheries and wildlife, has lead large-scale habitat restoration projects, managed watershed and forestry evaluations, and worked with large carnivores for more than 30 years.