By Michael YEGHIAYAN
With a steady stream of wildlife sightings in the foothills and across Glendale, the city has launched an interactive map to help track animal activity in urban areas. The map, which can be found on the City of Glendale website, allows residents to post wildlife sightings and breaks down citywide sightings by region over the past seven days.
In the last three weeks, two mountain lions have been reported in the city of Glendale. The first was spotted in the 2800 block of Kennington Drive near the Chevy Chase Country Club. More recently, a mountain lion was reported in the backyard of a home on Del Monte Road near Glendale Community College.
Extended periods of drought bring mountain dwelling animals and their predators into residential areas in search of food and water.
“Many people are not only concerned about public safety, but also about the safety of animals, especially in the Crescenta Valley,” said Glendale Public Information Officer Tom Lorenz. “We wanted an interactive map for people to share data. That way, people will have a better idea where some wildlife has been over the past seven days, when the data is most relevant.”
The release of the online map is part of an effort by the city to raise public awareness of wildlife sightings and raise awareness of safety measures residents can take to avoid incidents involving dangerous wildlife. The map will record sightings of mountain lions, bears, bobcats and coyotes, as well as deer, which are often targeted by predators in the region.
The city also recommends that residents not feed deer, which is illegal in California, and suggests growing plants that help repel deer. The California Dept. of Fish and Game recently released, “A Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage,” which outlines methods for safely repelling wild deer.
“We are hoping to change some people’s habits because we won’t be able to change animals’ habits,” said Lorenz. “We are not looking to cause fear, we just want to make this information available so people can plan accordingly.”
Although much of California is home to mountain lions, attacks by the animals are extremely rare as they generally avoid people. However, residents worried about mountain lion attacks are advised to avoid hiking, jogging or biking alone. Children and small animals should be carefully watched and mountain lions observed should be avoided and reported to the Glendale Police Dept. If confronted by a mountain lion, a person should face the animal and appear as large as possible to deter an attack.
The Glendale Wildlife Map was developed by the Glendale Information Services Dept.’s GIS and web team. The concept was first introduced by the Glendale City Council at the recommendation of Councilmember Ara Najarian.