Bay Area Wildfires Chase Wildlife Out of Usual Habitats

“Their sleep-wake cycle has been disrupted during the fires"

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Bay Area park rangers and wildlife observers say they are seeing unusual behavior by wild animals that have been pushed out of their usual habitats by wildfires.

Santa Clara County park rangers say they've seen larger herds of deer as well as turkeys searching for new places to live. They have also seen larger groups of and more activity by foxes and birds, including hawks.

“Their sleep-wake cycle has been disrupted during the fires," Santa Clara County park ranger Sgt. Sean Eaton said. "I think that they’re obviously in a new environment because they’re moving across the San Lorenzo Valley to where we are."

Video from the Bay Area Puma Project showed mountain lions roaming in the aftermath of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

Puma Project Director Zara McDonald said the recent fires probably killed some pumas. The group won’t know how many until later. Those that escaped are likely confused and on the move.

"If a mom has young cubs, which is pretty typical this time of year, she’s gotta get them out," McDonald said.

If humans encounter wandering wild animals, they should not approach them. The best move is to give them their space.

"They are wild animals," Eaton said. "Everyone should keep their distance. Enjoy the park. Enjoy the animals. But keep your distance. Don’t feed wildlife or disturb them in any way."

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