Drought drives wild animals to urban areas

May 27, 2014

lionCompetition for food amid California’s drought is prompting wildlife to search for food in strange places, including urban areas. [Outdoors]

In Nipomo, a bear wandered into a public park and shut down a Little League baseball game. In Santa Cruz County, a mountain lion jumped over a fence and killed nine goats.

Lt. Todd Tognazzini, game warden who has worked out of San Luis Obispo County since 1986, said there have been more reports of wayward bears in the past year in his area than in the previous 27 years combined.

Throughout San Luis Obispo County, incidence of mountain lion sightings and collision with deer are on the upswing. As summer arrives, officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say they expect to see more wildlife in urban areas as the drought continues.

Wildlife officers are advising the public to feed dogs and cats inside, and keep food for pets and birds, as well as garbage, inside as well.