Tender moment captured between mother bear and cubs

Never photograph a bear unless you are in a safe place to do so

Submitted by Tami Slezek via Report It

HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News has asked our viewers to send in photos of bears seen roaming around your neighborhood, and you’ve delivered!

Sunday, viewer Tami Slezek captured this photo of a mother bear nursing two cubs. Tami captured the moment in the Hampshire County town of Hatfield this weekend.

Bear sightings have naturally risen as they’ve come out of winter hibernation, but several mild winters have also contributed to a boost in the bear population. In some towns, like Southwick in Hampden County, sightings have become a regular occurrence this year.

If you see a bear, always make sure that you are in a safe place to take a photograph before doing so – usually, this means the safety of your home or car. It’s important to never approach a bear – they’re very fast and powerful animals that could easily harm you if provoked. It’s also recommended that you call animal control or the police if you see a bear.

If you have any pictures of bears in your area, we want to see them! Send them to 22News at reportit@wwlp.com.

To help keep bears off your property, there are some common tips you should follow:

  • Don’t provide food sources. Don’t leave your trash out in the open at night and take your bird feeders down. In fact, the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife recommends avoiding bird feeders altogether if you live in a bear-populated area.
  • Clean your grill. Bears can even be attracted by the smell of grease on an uncleaned grill, so be sure to clean up thoroughly after cooking outdoors.
  • Don’t make the same mistake twice. Bears are more likely to return to an area where they’ve found food before. If you find a bear has been attracted to something in your yard, be sure to eliminate that food source, whether that means securing your garbage or getting rid of your bird feeder.

If you do find yourself face-to-face with a bear, remain calm, talk to the bear in a calm voice, and back away slowly until you can leave the area safely. You can also try to scare the bear away by raising your hands above your head to appear bigger than the bear, and by making loud noises like banging pots together, or using a loud whistle. Again, you should never intentionally approach a bear.

Click here for a complete list of advice regarding keeping bears off your property, and for encountering a bear.

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