A number of reported black bear sightings in Shoreline and north Seattle are prompting officials from Shoreline Community College, the city of Shoreline and Shoreline School District to urge caution.
“The college campus is 83 acres, much of it heavily wooded and connected to other greenbelt areas,” SCC Director of Safety and Security Robin Heslop said Tuesday, May 19, 2009. “This bear has been reported in parks, neighborhoods and yards, not just wooded areas.”
Heslop advised that if one sees a bear, do not approach it and call 911. According to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, if you see a bear:
Remain calm. If possible, move away quietly when it's not looking. As you retreat, observe its behavior.
If it approaches you, stand up, wave your hands above your head and talk in a low voice. (Don't use the word "bear" because it might associate the word with food ... people feeding bears often say "here bear.")
Don't throw anything and avoid direct eye contact.
If you cannot move away safely or if the bear continues toward you, clap your hands, stomp your feet and yell. If in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and raise and wave your arms. If it persists, use pepper spray if you have it.
Don't run unless safety is near and you are certain you can reach it. Climbing a tree generally is not recommended.
Shoreline School District officials say a bear was seen Tuesday morning, May 19, by a jogger just west of Kellogg Middle School and Shorecrest High School, headed into the Hamlin Park woods. On Monday afternoon, the bear was reportedly seen near Parkwood Elementary School in the Twin Ponds Park area. A bear was also reported Sunday in the Magnolia and Ballard neighborhoods of Seattle.
While bears are unusual, wildlife in Shoreline is not, according to city officials. The city has more than 380 acres of park land. The green spaces provide recreation opportunities as well as wildlife habitat. Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rabbits, beavers, mountain beavers, turtles and coyotes all make their homes in Shoreline. Highlands neighborhood residents have reported seeing a cougar in their area in the past and Innis Arden is currently home to a pair of nesting bald eagles.
More information about black bears is available at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/bears.htm
The city of Shoreline offers tips about urban wildlife at: