SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Police in Southwick are urging residents to be aware- bears are around town! The department posted on their official Facebook page that they have been receiving calls about bear sightings on a daily basis.
Black bears generally enter residential neighborhoods in search of food, and are not outwardly aggressive. However, you should not try to approach a bear, as they are very fast, powerful, and have the ability to cause great harm to you or your pets. From a safe distance, you can try to make a loud sound to scare the bear off, Southwick police say, however, it is often best just to wait for it to wander away.
To minimize the chance of a bear encounter on your property, make sure you are not providing potential food sources. Bears are drawn to bird feeders, pet food, and unsecured trash. They may even be attracted by the smell of grease from an uncleaned barbecue grill.
Southwick animal control officer Tracy Root told 22News that you need to be aware of your surroundings. If you see a bear but it doesn’t see you, quietly walk away, don’t stop and take pictures. If the bear sees you, back away calmly, but don’t run.
“Carry a whistle. You can go to a boat store and buy a boat horn. They do make smaller ones that you can carry on your belt. If the bear is looking like it is coming toward you just be bigger than them,” Root said.
Mild winters have contributed to a boost in the bear population.
Southwick Police are warning residents about bear sightings on North Longyard, Kline, and Granville Roads, and the rail trail.
22News viewer Cindy Hoyt was among the town residents who found a bear wandering through her property in Southwick. She sent us video of her bear encounter on Tuesday. Play the video to see how the animal responded to a loud whistling sound!