This is getting to be a more common sight

Black bears have been in the news a lot lately. Sightings have been reported in a residential part of Holyoke, in Weston, Hartford, Conn. , and several other places. In Center Harbor, NH, a black bear knocked a woman down. She was uninjured and the bear fled. It was later caught and put down.

There seem to be several reasons for this.

It’s coming on mating season, so breeding males are on the move looking for a mate. Yearlings may be breaking away from their mothers and looking to establish their own territories. As human construction and development continues unabated, there’s bound to b more contact with bears.

At the same time, the Massachusetts bear population has increased drastically, from just 100 bears in the 1970s, to about 3000 in 2005, and those numbers have continued to grow. It used to be that if a bear was causing trouble in a neighborhood, it would just be tranquilized and brought to a more remote part of the state. That’s no longer practical.

There is a bear-hunting season in the state, and wildlife officials hope that will at least stabilize the population.

But the bottom line seems to be we’re all going to have to live with black bears showing up from time to time, much like raccoons, skunks, and woodchucks.

Just as with other wildlife, bears are looking for food, and are attracted to anything edible that’s lft outside – whether it’s garbage or bird seed. In the NH incident, the woman’s neighbors had a history of purposely feeding the bear.

The following website is a good starting point to get more information:

http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/facts/mammals/bear/black_bear_biology_faq.htm

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