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DEC To Residents: “Don’t Feed The Bears”

Bess Sadler, flickr

Albany, NY (WIBX) – Now’s the time black bears may become a nuisance to residents and campers alike.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is urging people to be cautious when it comes to handling garbage, food scraps and other things that bears may be attracted to.

Steve Heerkens, a Region 6 Big Game Biologist in Utica, says the perceived bear problem is mostly caused by us.

“Somebody left a bag of garbage in the back of the truck,” Heerkens said. “Somebody left garbage on the porch next to the screen door. Yup, you left your bird feeders up in the spring time or summer and, you know, you don’t really need to feed the birds that late. But, people leave that stuff accessible.”

When bears become a problem, DEC biologists may relocate the bear, or in extreme cases, euthanize the animal.

Heerkens says the best way to prevent unwanted visitors is to keep garbage and food scraps protected.

“It really comes down to managing your property,” Heerkens said. “Minimizing the attractants, you know, taking care of your garbage in this hot weather is going to require that you get that to the transfer station quickly. If you’ve got dirty, stinky garbage cans, keep those cleaned out.”

Heerkens also says bird feeders should be taken down, since they aren’t needed this time of year.

The DEC also reminds people that intentionally feeding bears, deer and moose is illegal in New York.

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