Why there’s an increase in bear sightings in western Massachusetts

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If you think there has been an increase in bears in western Massachusetts, you’re right.

Marion Larson of MassWildlife told 22News the bear population is growing, and they’ve found an easy source of food that brings them into neighborhoods: garbage. 

“You never know what they’re kind of sniffing around, going ‘I love this thing,'” said Patrick Quinlan, a resident of Hadley. 

MassWildlife suggests removing bird feeders from yards and putting trash in closed and secured containers. Larson told 22News that this time of year, bears are more actively searching for food, getting ready for their winter-time hibernation. 

Anthony Libardi has family that lives in Easthampton, and said he’s noticed more bears in the area. 

“He lives right next to the dumpster too, so it’s like instantly attracting them right there,” Libardi said. “It’s kind of bad. I’ll look out the window and I’ll just see a bear.”

If you do come across a bear, Larson said to make it aware of your presence by clapping or making other noises while slowly backing away. This will help teach the animals to stay away from humans. 

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