June 2, 2009, Mid-Hudson News: DEC offers tips to help prevent encounters with black bears

DEC offers tips to help prevent encounters with black bears

link to complete article is here: http://www.catskillsnews.com/News/2009/June09/02/bears-02Jun09.html

ALBANY – The state Department of Environmental Conservation Monday reminded campers, hikers and homeowners to take precautions against unwanted encounters with black bears while enjoying the outdoors.

There are between 1,800 and 2,500 bears living in the southern bear range, which includes the Catskills and parts of central and western New York. Bear populations, particularly in the southern bear range, have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade.

Black bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbecue grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses. When bears learn to obtain food from human sources, their natural foraging habits and behavior are changed.

Once a bear becomes a problem, DEC is often asked to intervene. However, bear relocations are rarely effective at solving the problem. Relocated bears often return to their original capture site or simply continue their bad habits at a new location.

If the circumstances that led to the original problem are not corrected, other bears will quickly be attracted to the site and the problems will persist. Bears that become accustomed to obtaining food from humans will often become bold and assertive in their quest for food, potentially leading to property damage or dangerous situations for humans. Unfortunately, this often results in DEC having to euthanize the bear, echoing the adage, "a fed bear is a dead bear."

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