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Officials recommend tips on living safely with neighboring black bears as they become more active

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: ODFW - Keep black bears out of your trash and property to keep animals wild. Pesky bears aren't just sticking to picnic baskets or honeypots in Oregon — they are bumping into residents of Corbett, Rhododendron and Welches to root through garbage cans, bird feeders and barbecues.

As local black bears emerge from winter hibernation, officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recommend a series of efforts that can be made to prevent negative interactions and keep both people and bears safe.

"It's everyone's responsibility to keep bears and people safe by making sure bears never get a food reward from people," said Steve Niemela, ODFW District Wildlife Biologist. "When bears do get a reward, it creates a dangerous situation for all involved."

Bears should not be allowed access to human food or garbage. An adult black bear requires about 5,000 calories per day in the spring and summer. And while they have an abundance of natural food — like berries, fruit, grasses and plants — they tend to return to high-calorie, non-natural sources like garbage because it is easier to access. Those bears also become habituated to human foods, and could become extremely aggressive in defending those food sources.

This past wet winter and spring has led to delayed wild fruit production, so ODFW said bears are venturing closer to urban areas in search of easy meals in East Multnomah County and rural Clackamas County.

A May 15 post on the social media page "WTF Just Happened!! In Sandy" shows a black bear walking across a lawn outside a home and down the sidewalk inside the Sandy city limits. View the video.

A bear's strongest sense is smell and they can pick up a scent from more than a mile away. Make sure to securely close garbage and clean scraps from a barbeque or grill. Bearproof garbage cans are available from local waste management or keep garbage and recycling secure until collection day. Also remove food wrappers, soda cans and other trash from inside your vehicles. Bears also love livestock feed, so secure chicken coops and other areas where livestock are held.

Here are other tips to keep bears wild:

• Never feed or approach bears

• Secure food, garbage and recycling

• Remove bird feeders when bears are active

• Never leave pet food outdoors

• Clean and store grills

• Alert neighbors to bear activity


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