More bear sightings due to peak mating season

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’re seeing more and more black bears roaming through local areas and that’s because it’s their peak mating season. 

Police say you should only call them if a bear is acting aggressive or poses a threat. 

More and more black bears are being spotted in western Massachusetts. This mother bear has been seen on Route 20 in West Springfield since last week. 

West Springfield Police said she’s looking for her cub that was hit by a car and killed last week. Southwick and West Springfield residents reported bears in their backyards over the weekend. 

“This is their habitat and I respect that,” said Laurie Messer of West Springfield. “I have to stay indoors; I don’t do anything to feed them. They can find plenty on their own.” 

According to MassWildlife, bears have excellent long-term memories and will re-visit places where they have found food months and even years later.  

Removing food sources like bird feeders will help prevent bears from going onto your yard. If you encounter a bear, do not approach it. 

You don’t need to call the police. 

“If a bear is in your backyard and it’s at your bird feeders, don’t try to scare it off, let it do its thing, and once it’s gone remove the food source, don’t fill the bird feeder or the bear will come back to feed on it again,” said Dave Wattles, a black bear biologist at MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Just give the bear space.” 

Wattles told 22News the Environmental Police will only euthanize a bear if it’s posing an imminent threat, or if it’s been causing problems, like killing farm animals or breaking into homes. 

Wattles said no one has ever been killed or seriously injured by a bear in Massachusetts. 

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