June 30, 2011 —
Spring is the time of year when much baby wildlife can be seen as they forage for food with their parents, making for easy viewing just in time for the summer tourist season. Unfortunately, some of this activity causes undesirable results. Foraging black bears leave their calling cards in the form of knocked-over trash cans and garbage scattered about. A bear recently made entry into a vacant residence via an open window in the Shohola, PA area, resulting in significant damage.
There are steps that can be taken to minimize the chance of bear problems at home or work. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers these five steps to avoid attracting bears:
• Do not feed wildlife. Bird seed and scraps left for deer will also attract bear. It’s best to use bird feeders in the winter months when bears are in their dens.
• Keep it clean. Don’t put garbage outside until pick-up day, and avoid having other food items (pet dishes, etc) out over night.
• Keep your distance. Shout at a mischievous bear, but do not approach it (especially a female with cubs). Make sure you are not in the bear’s escape route. Call your local police or wildlife agency if a bear does not leave.
• Eliminate temptation. Work together with your neighbors to reduce an area’s appeal to bears. Businesses should use bear-proof waste containers.
• Check your surroundings. If your pet is agitated or acting strange, try to determine what has alarmed it, but do so cautiously, taking full advantage of building floodlights from a safe position.
Mark Ternent, bear biologist for the game commission, states that there are more than 18,000 bear in the Commonwealth. “Bears needn’t be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless. But they should be respected.”