WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bears are starting to come out of hibernation, and sightings are up in western Massachusetts.
A viewer sent 22News a photo of what appears to be a black bear cub and its mother in his yard in Chicopee over the weekend. And as early as March we received pictures of bears, like this one photographed in a yard in West Springfield.
This will be the first spring that the West Springfield Health Department has had an ordinance on the books that prevents the feeding of wild animals. Mayor Will Reichelt said the passage was due in part to state wildlife officials noting a major increase in bear activity in the area in the last year.
“It allows bird feeding as long as the bird feeder is five feet off the ground, and not attached to a fence or something around your house,” Mayor Reichelt explained. “It was generally for anti-wildlife feeding. So not leaving food out, or creating a condition where human food is easily accessible for animals.”
Mayor Reichelt said residents who break the ordinance are issued a warning, before facing fines starting at $25.
Wildlife officials say now is a good time to put away bird feeders, as they can attract bears coming out of hibernation.