Western Massachusetts residents noticing more wild animals in rural areas

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – People living in rural sections of western Massachusetts are seeing a small uptick in wild animal sightings.

Many of you have sent 22News pictures of bears, coyotes, and even bobcats.

A viewer from Agawam captured footage of what they think is a bobcat moving about in their backyard. In an email to 22News, they said they’ve seen a lot of bobcats in the area – but this one seems to be double the size.

Michael Mercadante also lives in Agawam. He and his wife said they’re used to seeing wildlife roaming the neighborhood. He told 22News, “The neighbors have also spotted bobcats before. And we had a bear on this side street. Just a little while ago we had a bear in our backyard.”

In fact, Michael said wildlife activity seems to be happening closer to homes more often, so now they take precautions.

He said, “We were a little concerned when we had the bear in the backyard. We’d make a lot of noise when we come out to let the dog out.”

The Mercadante’s have the right idea. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offer tips on its website. They say to check your yard for bears and other wildlife before letting your dog out. If you encounter a bear or bobcat while with your dog, back away slowly and leave the area.

Over the years, 22News has received dozens of pictures and video clips from viewers of bobcats getting too close for comfort.

Experts have said it’s estimated there are tens of thousands of bobcats statewide. One key way to limit their movement near your home is to limit food – including garage, compost, and bird feeders.

Mass Wildlife has a wealth of information on its website about a number of wild animals that share space with all of us in western Massachusetts.

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