State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding New Yorkers to take steps to reduce conflicts with bears.
“After a relatively mild winter, bears are emerging from their dens and have begun seeking out food sources,” Seggos said. “Unfortunately, people sometimes make it easy for bears to find food near their homes. Fish and Wildlife staff at DEC have received reports of bears getting into garbage and pulling down bird feeders to eat the seed. It’s important that homeowners take measures to prevent bears from easily accessing these unnatural food sources.”
Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless practices around properties, has consequences for entire communities. The DEC advises everyone who lives in or visits bear habitat, which is much of Upstate New York, to remove items that are attractive to bears. People should take down bird feeders by April 1, store garbage inside secure buildings and feed pets indoors.
These actions are necessary to live responsibly with black bears, protect people, property, and bears. Allowing bears to find food naturally keeps them out of trouble and reduces negative interactions with people and property.