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Keeping Wildlife Wild at the Holiday Mixer

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Northridge West hosted its annual Holiday Mixer prior to its December Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 8 at Calahan Elementary. Guests enjoyed dinner from Maria’s Italian Kitchen and mingled with Board Members.

During the announcements, Councilmember Englander’s office announced ElNinoLA.com which provides information on getting ready for the upcoming storms. Steve Harris of the Friends of Oakridge announced that they expect to begin construction soon on initial work at the Oakridge Estate, home of movie star Barbara Stanwyck. Construction could begin as early as second quarter 2016. More information will be available soon and interested people may sign up for email alerts at: http://theoakridgeestate.com/

The guest speaker was Cathy Schoonmaker, Urban Wildland Conservation Specialist with the National Parks Service. She spoke about what attracts wildlife to our communities and how best to keep the wildlife wild. She began with research showing that the death of large mammals such as mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats is largely due to consumption of smaller animals who have consumed anticoagulant rat poison. This type of poison brings on a slow death of the animal, taking about ten days for the animal to die. During that time, the small mammal who ate the poison is compromised and less able to protect itself from larger predators, who eat it and then also are exposed to and die from the poison.

Schoonmaker in particular noted the unfortunate death of mountain lion P34, a female who died from anticoagulant rat poison in September in on a trail in Point Mugu State Park. She pointed the audience towards other solutions to preventing wildlife from inhabiting yards and houses. Homeowners can remove attractants, such as bird feeders, bird seed spilled on the ground, dispose of fruit fallen from fruit trees, secure trash and clean off bar-b-ques after use. Commercial businesses are urged to ensure trash is secured in trash bins as a deterrent, rather than setting up rat poison distribution points.

Homeowners can seal up their homes, attics, crawl spaces with wire mesh. Keep pets and their food inside. To keep coyotes out, homeowners would need fencing high enough to stop coyotes who can jump 7-8’ high. Rollers on top of fences have also proven effective in keeping coyotes from entering yards. Coyotes can dig under fences and homeowners may want to use ¼” wire buried under the fence.

Animal services will not relocate coyotes who are spotted in neighborhoods or who eat pets. Residents need to actively discourage coyotes from their neighborhoods using a variety of different hazing type techniques including banging metal pots, air horns, yelling and waving arms, water blasters and more.

Wildlife Watch is an organization to help communities learn how to discourage coyotes and keep wildlife wild. The contact person is:

Northridge West Neighborhood Council meets regularly on the second Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is on January 12, 2016, 6:30pm at Calahan Elementary School, 18722 Knapp St.

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