Monday, June 17, 2024
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TWRA: Secure Food, Garbage To Avoid Attracting Bears

People need to be careful about what they are leaving outside as bears start to become more active in the region.

TWRA Wildlife Information Specialist Míme Barnes said bears are becoming more common across the state and here in the Upper Cumberland. She said juvenile black bears leave their mothers this time of year and are looking for new territory. Barnes said most interactions between humans and bears center around food.

“So a bear might not know where it’s going, but it can follow its nose,” Barnes said. “And humans can help by securing food, garbage, and recycling, and their grills. Bears can smell those greasy grills. So securing things in a garage or tight-fitting containers.”

Barnes said other ways to deter bears include putting away bird feeders, picking any ripe produce from the garden, and waiting to put trash bins out until the morning they will be collected. She said if someone sees a bear they should give it as much space as possible and never follow it.

“Everyone wants to take a photograph, but we say, and this is true for all wildlife, give that animal freedom and stay away from it,” Barnes said. “When we follow an animal and take photographs, it can create an unintentional dangerous situation.”

Barnes said anytime people are in an area known to have bears they should make extra noise to let the bears know they are nearby and give the animals space to walk away.

“We want them to live a natural life in natural settings and we don’t want them conditioned to eat human food, or to think that humans are safe to be around,” Barnes said.

Barnes said these young bears explore civilized and natural areas alike.

“Because this is their first time on their own, they’re kind of directionless,” Barnes said. “They’re looking for food, water, and shelter.”

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