North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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Warm Weather Brings Black Bear Sightings and Advisories

  • 31 March 2015
  • Number of views: 8362
Warm Weather Brings Black Bear Sightings and Advisories
Bear in the backyard photo by Chris Turner/NCWRC.

RALEIGH, N.C.  (March 31, 2015) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission advises that black bear sightings will become more common across the state as weather becomes warmer.

While black bears are not inherently dangerous and rarely aggressive toward people, the Wildlife Commission advises caution and using common sense to reduce the potential for problems.

If left alone, most transient bears will find their way quickly out of town and back to natural habitat. People are urged not to approach or follow bears, or put themselves between a bear and its possible escape route.

“Seeing a bear passing through a neighborhood can cause a lot of excitement,” said Ann May, the Wildlife Commission’s extension wildlife biologist. “But folks need to give a bear plenty of room and allow it to move out of the area freely. To prevent a dangerous situation, crowds should not gather nearby.”

The Wildlife Commission advises people to not feed bears, whether intentionally or inadvertently. Bears accustomed to feeding on pet food, table scraps, garbage and birdseed can lose their fear of humans resulting in property damage or other more serious problems. Suggested ways to avoid problems:

  • Use bear-proof garbage cans or trash containers with a secure latching system.
  • Keep trash inside as late as possible on pick-up days — don’t put trash curbside the night before.
  • Take down birdfeeders, even those advertised as “bear-proof.”
  • If you feed pets outside, make sure all food is consumed and empty bowls are promptly removed.

“It’s a good idea to clean food and grease from barbecue grills after each use,” May said. “Bears are attracted to food odors, so you don’t want to dispose of grease or cooking oil nearby. Be careful with food and food odors in vehicles, as well.”

The Wildlife Commission rarely traps and relocates bears. Relocation can be dangerous to personnel and the bear, and generally proves unsuccessful. Relocated bears often return to where they were originally captured. Additionally, there are few remote areas remaining in the state to which bears can be relocated. For more information, go to www.ncwildlife.org/bear or call 919-707-0050.

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Media Contact:
Geoff Cantrell
919-707-0186
geoff.cantrell@ncwildlife.org
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