Leaving food and bird feeders out can attract bears

black bear cubs generic
black bear cubs generic(Baylor University/Lori W. Fogleman)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 9:10 AM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - Black Bears live all over the Commonwealth of Virginia. This includes the wilderness of course, but also residential, suburban and even semi-urban areas.

Alex Wehrung, Public Affairs Manger for outreach and education for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, said seeing a black bear in your neighborhood or backyard once or twice will not be an issue but, leaving pet food and bird feeders out at night could cause a bear to come back multiple times.

”You can move them entirely. Especially during this season there are plenty of naturally abundant food sources for birds in the wild during the spring, summer, and fall. So they don’t really need our help with a bird feeder. But if you can’t part ways with it entirely, lock them up over night, keep them inside overnight and put them back out in the morning.” said Wehrung.

“It becomes an issue when bears become habituated to humans and habituated to finding easy to access food sources that are consistent and reliable. Are high value so that is high calorie, high fat food items that are easy to access.” said Wehrung.

Wehrung said a bear among other animals can become habituated. This means they learned they can find food resources or shelter from or near humans.

“A habituated wild animal is one that has lost its natural fear or natural aversion to coming into contact with humans.” said Wehrung.

“Bears are only looking for food. So to remove what they are looking for is to effectively remove or at least drastically reduce the chances that they will be in that area.” said Wehrung.

Wehrung said put away pet food, trash cans, and trash bags inside your house or locked away in the garage overnight . Make sure the grease is cleaned off your grill, the smell can attract bears.