Bear sightings becoming more common in western Massachusetts

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Bear sightings across western Massachusetts seemed to have increased this past year.

Massachusetts is the third most densely-populated state in the country for black bears, so if you’ve seen a bear this past spring, you’re not alone. Spring is the time of the year when temperatures rise and black bears across the region start to come out of hibernation looking for food.

Black bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both vegetation and meat. As we near the summer-time, black bears are starting to snack on ripening berries across the region. However, when the food source is slim, bears will start to look in many different places for nourishment.

Patti Steinman of the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary told 22News, “They have fantastic memories and they have fantastic sense of smell, so again, if you have them and you see a bear, there is a good chance it’s going to come back.”

Bears are often attracted to neighborhoods where residents have bird feeders and unsecured trash. This is an easy way for them to find food. One of the best things to do if you have a birdfeeder is take it down or bring it inside. By removing food sources on your property and securing trash cans, bears will be less attracted to your home.

“Enjoy them, they are a wonderful thing to see, but keep your distance and respect them,” said Steinman.

If you have a bear in your yard, do not approach it or get close to it. Making loud noises can help scare the bear away.

If you can safely take a video or photos of a bear in your yard, send it to reportit@wwlp.com!

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