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‘Bearwise’ this spring: NYSDEC sends a safety reminder

NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — During your hikes this spring and summer, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding New Yorkers to be mindful of removing and securing food sources that could attract black bears.

According to NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, black bears have depleted fat reserves throughout the spring and early summer months, which means they will search extensively for easily obtainable, calorie-dense foods.

This indicates that the potential for human-bear conflicts near homes and residential areas can increase, especially before the spring green-up when natural food sources for bears are scarce.

“Across New York, black bears are emerging from their winter dens and may seek out human-created food sources,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Repeat access to these food sources can make bears bolder, so I encourage New Yorkers to practice the BearWise basics to help keep bears wild and prevent the potential for human-bear conflicts.”

People who live in an area where black bears roam, should empty and clean spilled seed from bird feeders and secure and store garbage and recycling cans in a sturdy building. Homeowners should also clean or remove all residual grease and food from grills and smokers.

The NYSDEC suggests those with chicken coops or apiaries consider installing an electric fence to protect flocks and hives, and if you own any pet or livestock food, it should all be kept indoors. Neighbors should also alert other neighbors to any bear activity so they can take these same precautions.

The NYSDEC advises all New Yorkers to also never feed or approach bears as this is not only dangerous but illegal and bears that become habituated to being fed can become a threat to people and property.

If you want to know what precautions you can take to practice ‘BearWise basics‘ the DEC has more information on its website.

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