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As weather warms up, wildlife sightings increase

Posted at 5:15 PM, May 15, 2023

Be on the lookout for more wild animals. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), it’s that time of year when wildlife sightings increase across the state.

From mountain lion sightings to deer, rattlesnakes, and even bears, the Central Coast has seen it all.

“I did see a snake about a week ago, but it wasn't a rattlesnake, at Montana de Oro," said San Luis Obispo resident Jim Sievert.

“I think it's a good thing. I think with the rain this year, we're going to see a lot more of it and it's a sign of life, so it's a wonderful thing," added another local resident, Jeff Fitzsimons.

Just last week, a bear was caught on surveillance video roaming through a backyard in Pismo Beach.

On Saturday morning, Montecito firefighters used a helicopter to rescue a hiker who was bitten by a rattlesnake.

“It’s also the time of year when young mountain lions might be out trying to find territory for the first time. You know, it's the time of year when bears are kind of coming out of hibernation and they may be with their cubs," said CDFW Public Information Officer Ken Paglia.

Some hikers say it’s something they are well aware of and keep in mind while outdoors.

“There’s been a couple of mountain lion sightings over by Irish Hills. I keep one of my earbuds out and always looking behind me," explained San Luis Obispo resident Michael Davidfick.

“When we hear about mountain lion sightings around here, I refuse to come. I stay away," said Julie Sievert.

While you may not be used to seeing these furry and scaley creatures, Paglia said they deserve our respect.

“People often get concerned about wildlife in the heat. They're very, very well-intentioned and they want to help wildlife so sometimes they're tempted to leave out sources of food or leave out sources of water," Paglia added.

While it may be tempting to help wildlife, Paglia wants to remind the community not to feed or give water to wild animals as it could affect their ability to survive on their own.

“Make sure you remove anything from your home or property that could attract wildlife," he said.

Another important reminder is to always keep your distance, don’t get close even if you’re trying to take a picture, and respect their habitats.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has an online Wildlife Incident Reporting tool where people can document a recent sighting that goes straight to the local biologist in the area.