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Safety tips for exploring Utah's public lands

Utah's Hogle Zoo: Wild Aware Utah
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jul 26, 2023

This weekend, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is hosting Wild Aware Utah Day in collaboration with Utah State University Extension and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

This is where zoo guests will learn safety tips to prevent conflicts with local wildlife and how to recreate safely on Utah’s public lands.

This local wildlife education program was established in 2010 as a way to provide Utah residents and visitors with wildlife awareness and safety information.

As Tori Bird, Conservation Action Coordinator, explained: urban development spreads into wildlife habitat areas and outdoor recreation becomes increasingly popular in Utah, therefore increasing the chance of human/wildlife conflicts.

Educational booths will be available with various displays regarding cougars, black bears and moose, including important tips like what to do if you encounter a cougar while hiking or if a black bear wanders into your campsite.

Sally Smolka, Animal Keeper II, strongly suggested leaving wildlife alone if you encounter an animal on public lands.

She explained: "Never try to poke, handle, corner, or harass animals in the wild."

Be aware of your surroundings, Sally said, and teach children to respect wildlife and to look, but not touch.

All activities including educational booths, keeper chats and more are included in general admission or zoo membership.

Wild Aware Utah Day goes from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Utah’s Hogle Zoo will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Buy your tickets online for $2 off admission.

For more zoo information, go to hoglezoo.org and follow Utah’s Hogle Zoo on Instagram or Facebook to see daily schedules, including keeper chats, animal demonstrations and upcoming events.

Learn about Wild Aware Utah at wildawareutah.org and follow Wild Aware Utah on Instagram or Facebook to learn about local animals and wildlife safety tips.