Be cautious when encountering wildlife

RICHMOND—With summer come greater opportunities to spend time outdoors.

There’s also a greater likelihood of encountering wildlife, and it is important to know what to do when face to face with a coyote, snake, fox or other animal.

 “If you’re near a wooded area, coming into contact with wildlife is fairly common,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist at Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Even in an area that you perceive to be built up, there is the potential for wildlife.”

Farm Bureau is headquartered in the West Creek Office Park in Goochland County, which has corporate buildings surrounded by wooded acreage. Recently, employee Angela Heskett encountered a coyote while running on West Creek Parkway during her lunch break. Heskett said she “stopped, remained calm and then proceeded to walk past where the coyote ran into the woods.” She also called someone at the office to note her location should anything happen.

“If you are out running or walking and encounter a wild animal, do not show your fear, and stay calm,” said Mike Dye, a district wildlife biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “Do not run away—this is not an effective approach.”

Do not get closer to the animal, Dye added. If it looks sick, try to get back to a safe place as quickly as possible, and report the encounter to local law enforcement.

Dye, who serves Goochland and seven other counties, noted that coyote sightings during the day are common. “Most types of wildlife prefer to move on the edges of daylight, but they will move whenever there is a need.”

Media: Contact Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.

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