The City of Bellingham is hosting an educational forum on Bellingham's black-tail deer population and the new deer and raccoon feeding ordinance at 7 p.m. on April 16 in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St.
The City is holding the forum as part of an educational campaign to share knowledge on healthy ways to coexist with a growing population of urban wildlife. It is working with community and state partners to educate Bellingham residents on the negative impacts of feeding wildlife.
Animals that are fed by humans may become aggressive, and deer that congregate near feeding stations may be more susceptible to disease. Feeding also increases conflicts between humans and wildlife as well as among neighbors.
“Our goal is to make Bellingham a better place for people and animals alike. That means not encouraging unhealthy behaviors in wild animals, and letting deer find their own healthy diet," City Councilmember Michael Lilliquist said. "Deer feeding is actually harmful to the deer, promotes boom and bust deer numbers, and spreads disease. I think that people will do the right thing, once they understand the facts."
Brad Smith, Dean Emeritus of Western's Huxley College and current Chair of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission, will introduce the topic and moderate the discussion.
Mark Gardner, Legislative Analyst for the Bellingham City Council, will provide an overview of the ordinance and its rationale.
Cole Caldwell, Supervisory Biologist with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, will provide information on Bellingham's deer population, including biology, habitat, behavior, and impacts from feeding wildlife.
Attendees will learn useful tips on how to safely share Bellingham with wildlife and on protecting yards and gardens from hungry deer. An opportunity for question and answer will follow the presentations.
For more information on the ordinance or the educational campaign, visit Keep Wildlife Wild!