Living with Wildlife

Safety Tips

Unsecured garbage containers, pet food and birdfeeders can attract hungry wildlife, including bears and cougars, looking for a meal.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers tips to prevent conflicts between bears and humans:

  • Never intentionally feed bears or other wild animals.
  • Keep garbage cans in a garage or another secure area until collection day.
  • Remove pet food from areas accessible to wildlife.
  • Thoroughly clean barbecue grills after each use.
  • Take down birdfeeders until later in summer.
  • When camping, keep a clean campsite by thoroughly cleaning all cooking utensils after use and sealing uneaten food in airtight containers stored in bear-proof canisters away from sleeping areas.

Two state laws prohibit leaving food or food waste in places where it can attract bears and other wild carnivores. Unintentionally or "negligently" feeding bears can bring a fine of $87, while the fine for intentional feeding can be as much as $1,000.

Bear Encounters

If you encounter a bear, WDFW offers the following advice:

  • Don't run.
  • Pick up small children.
  • Stand tall, wave your arms above your head and shout.
  • Do not approach the animal and be sure to leave it an escape route.
  • Try to get upwind of the bear so that it can identify you as a human and leave the area.

Wildlife Resistant Carts

Note: Bear-resistant carts are currently unavailable. We will update this page as soon as you can request one.

Recology offers two types of wildlife-resistant carts for residential, commercial and multi-family Issaquah customers.

Both types are designed to resist bears and other wildlife, but neither is “bear-proof.” Removing temptation is the best way to keep bears and other animals away from your home, family, and neighbors. Put your cart out on the morning of service, not the night before, and store it inside so that animals cannot get to it. 

To request a wildlife-resistant cart, contact Recology, 425-837-1234.

Keep Wildlife Wild

The National Parks Service summarizes some of the reasons feeding wildlife is detrimental to the animals and to people:

  • There are risks to wildlife. Animals that rely on human foods can stop naturally hunting or foraging and starve.
  • There are risks to people. Animals that rely on human foods can become aggressive.

Depending on humans for food is called food conditioning. Food conditioning is dangerous for animals because it can lead to serious consequences like getting sick, starving, or even having to be killed if they become too aggressive. Animals can lose their fear of people when they get used to eating our food.

Let them stick to their natural diet. Feeding wildlife isn’t safe for the animals or for you.