Black Bear Article

Black Bear

Below is and Article from the ProJo that came out on March 28th, It offers good information for our residents.

Black bear spotted in WGThe bear in West Greenwich bent a backyard bird feeder, according to the DEM. It was the first reported bear sighting in Rhode Island this year, but increasing black bear populations in Connecticut and Massachusetts have led to more frequent sightings in the state, especially in the rural areas of Providence, Kent and Washington Counties, the DEM said.

The scarcity of food in the early spring may lead hungry bears toward yards. Bird feeders, beehives, chicken coops, rabbit hutches and compost piles are among the places they could visit for looking for meals, according to the DEM.

“Black bears are generally shy and will avoid interactions with humans. However, they can become dependent on backyard food sources, if readily available, and quickly become a nuisance,” the DEM said in a news release. “Black bears have an excellent sense of smell and will investigate odors they identify as an easy meal — and will regularly frequent a site once a food source is identified.

“Do not feed bears,” the DEM says, noting the male black bears can weigh up to 450 pounds while females can weigh 250 pounds.

The DEM gives the following advice to keep bears away:

· Remove bird feeders by early April and wait until early November to put them up back up.

· Refrain from feeding pets outside. If you do, take pet food dishes inside at night.

· Store birdseed, livestock feed and garbage in buildings.

· Take garbage out for pickup on the morning of collection — not the night before.

· Keep barbecue grills clean of grease. Do not put meat or sweet food scraps in your compost pile.

· Use electric fencing around chicken coops, beehives, rabbit hutches and livestock pens.

· Move livestock into barns at night.

The DEM gives the following advice for those who encounter a black bear:

· Do not panic. Bears are rarely aggressive toward people and will often leave on their own. After the bear leaves the area, food sources or any other items of attraction should be removed from the yard.

· Do not run away if you surprise a bear. Walk away slowly while facing the bear. In Rhode Island, black bears are protected animals. Intentionally feeding or shooting a bear is illegal.

The DEM asks people who spot a bear on private property to report it to the DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement at 401-222-3070. The DEM says it is working with local police to track bear sightings and complaints and educate people on how to safely coexist with bears.