MassWildlife urging residents: Don’t feed bears, keep them wild

Bears have been spotted in several western Massachusetts communities

Leaview Drive in Westfield Photo sent to reportit@wwlp.com by Tom Drewski

(WWLP) – Keep bears wild. It’s a warning to all Massachusetts residents after several reports of black bear sightings across the state, including here in western Massachusetts.

MassWildlife says in a wildlife advisory that they’re partnering with Massachusetts Environmental Police to remind everyone not to feed bears that come around their homes.

Tender moment captured between mother bear and cubs

22News has received multiple photos of bears through our Report-It feature, from Southwick to Hatfield.

“I live in a remote area so there’s a lot of bear sightings, bears come and go all the time. I have a crab apple tree and they like those in the fall, so I’m always seeing bears,” said Bob Savery of Granby.

Taking down bird feeders, feeding pets indoors, and waiting until pick-up day to put trash outside are all things MassWildlife is recommending to keep bears away.

“Having emerged from dens in early spring with little in the way of natural foods, it is not unusual for bears to quickly learn that residential areas are ideal locations for an effortless meal of bird seed, suet, pet food, unsecured trash and compost,” Dave Wattles, MassWildlife Bear Project Leader, said in the advisory.

As a result, MassWildlife says bears can lose their natural fear of humans and create unsafe situations.

Patty Guilmette told 22News, “We’re infringing on their home. More and more places are being built and trees are being torn down and people are saying ‘well the bears are appearing in our backyard.’ Well, of course they are, you’re taking down their home.”

MassWildlife is also reminding residents if you come across a bear to leave it alone. Don’t approach it, and never follow them.

If you have any pictures of bears in your neighborhood you can send them to us at Reportit@wwlp.com.

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