Spring Hikers Asked To Watch For Dead Wildlife
It is beginning to actually resemble hiking weather again across the state.
State wildlife officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking advantage of the extra boots on the ground and are asking that people report wildlife issues.
For instance, dead, sick, or injured swans in western Washington to support ongoing efforts to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter and tundra swans.
From elk hoof disease to white-nose syndrome in bats, WDFW tracks, answers questions about, and study as well as respond to the diseases that affect the health of wildlife of the state.
In the event of an immediate public safety issue, wildlife violation, or dangerous animal, please email or call the WDFW Enforcement office, or call 911.
People can report their observations 24 hours a day by calling (360) 466-4345, ext. 266 through the end of April for dead swan sightings. Callers should be prepared to leave a short detailed message including their name and phone number, along with the location and condition of the swans.
Swans die from lead poisoning each year in western Washington after ingesting lead shot while foraging in shallow underwater areas, in fields and roosts where sources of lead are present. Although lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting nationwide for more than two decades, the risk to swans remains.
Washington state attracts more than 17,000 trumpeter swans each year, said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl manager. Most of those birds flock to the fields of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish counties, although the species has expanded its range recent years, he said.
Spragens said department has received reports of sick and dead swans in Clallam and Pierce counties just within the past week.
"We strive to respond to every report we receive," Spragens said. "Our goal is both to help individual swans and to locate sources of lead poisoning."
Spragens said people who observe dead, sick, or injured swans should avoid handling or collecting the birds.