RALEIGH, N.C. (June 17, 2010) – With the rise of media reports across the state about black bear interactions with humans, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding citizens that they can take a few simple steps to avoid conflict with bears.
Residents should avoid feeding bears, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as it accustoms the bear to human food. Feeding a bear rewards it for approaching people and their homes and makes it more likely to approach again.
While black bears are rarely aggressive toward people, they can become bold when accustomed to feeding on human-provided foods, such as garbage and bird seed. Often, they lose their fear of people, and bears that are too comfortable with people are more likely to cause problems.
In addition, if a bear visits a residential area, people should remain calm and leave it alone. A crowd will unnerve the bear, causing it to act unpredictably. Crowds should disperse and allow the bear to move on undisturbed.
A frightened bear may climb a tree but will come down and leave when it no longer feels threatened.
Residents can prevent interactions with bears by:
- Securing bags of trash inside cans stored in a garage, basement or other secure area, and placing the cans outside, as late as possible, on trash pick-up days – not the night before.
- Purchasing bear-proof garbage cans or bear proofing existing garbage containers with secure latching systems.
- Discontinuing the feeding of wild birds during spring and summer, even with feeders advertised as “bear-proof.” Bears are attracted to seed that spills on the ground.
- Avoiding “free feeding” pets outdoors. If you must feed pets outdoors, make sure all food is consumed and empty bowls are removed.
- Cleaning all food and grease from barbecue grills after each use. Bears are attracted to food odors and may investigate the source.
For more information on living with black bears, visit Preventing and Resolving Black Bear Conflicts