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Reminder: Don’t Feed Wild Bears

By Nate | August 10, 2011

Black bear in Bedford, NH, backyard - WMUR per WPTZ

This just in: Two days ago, a family vacationing at the grandparents’ house in nearby Bedford, New Hampshire, beat a hasty retreat from their back deck when they couldn’t help but notice a member of Ursus americanus joining them in the back yard. Yes, they were being visited by a wild black bear, who had apparently sauntered in, found their bird feeder, and started helping itself to the contents.

This is actually not that rare here in the Northeast. The same TV news team reporting this latest run-in also published an even scarier incursion on July 28 in which a Laconia family (just about 50 miles north of Bedford in NH) had another black bear walk into their kitchen, eat some fruit, and help itself to a fish in a fishbowl (which miraculously survived). In both cases, nobody was hurt, but the encounter was a sobering reminder that, as human habitats encroach on bear habitats, we’re both more likely to come face-to-face.

Which is a bad thing for both. For us, it raises the likelihood of an attack. For these nearby bears, it raises the likelihood of their being destroyed in order to protect ourselves. That’s pretty much a lose-lose, any way you look at it.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company has a history of supporting efforts to save wild bears, so we would like to keep black bears safe and sound forever. The good news is that folks who know they live near wild bears can take steps to lower the chance that a bear might come onto their property.

In short, the strategy is to make sure there isn’t food out where they can get it (or, as in the case of the Bedford family, make sure you don’t leave doors open). According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s excellent “Living With Black Bears” page, “Bears may visit areas of human use because they find food. Food can include unsecured garbage, birdseed, pet food, fruit trees and some gardens.”

Here are a few more of their tips for us:

As these recent news stories show, many of us are closer to wild bears than we might like to be. Reducing their opportunities for our food and garbage help keep them where they should be: Wild and healthy in their natural habitats.

PS, we have some of our own Vermont Teddy Bear Wildlife Bears that are safe for your home and would love to join you. And they won’t raid your kitchen!

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