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DEC gives tips to avoid bear contact

Remove bird feeders, secure trash, and feed pets indoors, agency says

A bear eats from a bird feeder in Marathon, Ontario. (Photo provided — Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

ALBANY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Monday reminded New Yorkers to avoid conflicts with bears by taking down bird feeders and securing garbage.

DEC has already received a few reports of bear sightings across the state.

“As bears emerge from their dens, they use their sensitive noses to find food,” the DEC wrote. “Human-related food sources such as bird feeders, pet food and garbage can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless property management, has consequences for entire communities, as well as the bears themselves.”

To reduce the potential for human-bear conflicts, DEC advises everyone residing in or visiting bear country (which spans much of upstate New York) to remove any attractants. The department said people should take down bird feeders and clean up any remaining birdseed by April 1, store garbage inside secure buildings, and feed pets indoors.

“By taking these simple steps, New Yorkers can help to ensure bears will find food naturally, which in turn protects people, property, and bears,” the DEC wrote.

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