BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — With spring right around the corner, the bears are back. Wildlife officials are warning residents to lock and hide away anything black bears could get a hold of.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) estimated about 4,000 black bears are beginning to emerge from hibernation, and are going to be looking for food. For residents, that means clearing out things bears consider food from their yard, said Laura Hadjuk-Conlee of MassWildlife.
"Bringing in bird feeders, making sure your trash is in secure out-buildings- never ever put the trash just in the bag," Hadjuk-Conlee said.
Residents can clean greasy barbecues and grills after use, install electric fencing for livestock like chickens and bees, and reduce compost odors to avoid attracting bears, MassWildlife said.
MassWildlife posted a map of Massachusetts, highlighting the areas in the state where black bears typically roam.
Officials said that those recommendations are crucial for residents living in central and western Massachusetts, but black bears aren't strangers to the east coast either. For example, officials recounted a time in 2012 where a bear had crossed the Cape Cod Canal and made its way out to Provincetown from there.
"The more bears get used to eating human-associated food sources, increases the likelihood that they're going to lose their fear of people," Hadjuk-Conlee said.
WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.