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For Release: Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DEC Updated Statement on Bear in Albany

General Bear Information:

  • DEC follows protocol to deal with bears. Our first course of action is to assess the situation and then try to encourage the bear out of the inappropriate setting.
  • If there is not a safe way to get the bear out of the area, DEC will try to tranquilize and relocate the bear into more suitable settings such as the Catskills or Adirondacks. DEC tags relocated bears so it can track the bears' movements. DEC attempts to relocate each nuisance bear at least twice.
  • Unfortunately, relocation does not always work and a nuisance bear sometimes travels great distances, as much as 100 miles, to return to food sources in urban and suburban settings.
  • A bear that repeatedly returns to urban and suburban settings will continue to return after each relocation. In these cases, a bear becomes a threat to public safety when it looks for food in populated neighborhood trash cans, bird feeders and other sources.
  • Euthanizing a bear is always a last resort. We never want to harm wildlife. We exhaust all possible options first and make a determination if the bears are a threat to public safety.
  • Placing a black bear at animal sanctuaries is very difficult as most zoos and sanctuaries have too many bears already and will not accept more.

May 27 Bear Timeline:

  • DEC received a call yesterday at 6:24 a.m. about a bear spotted in Bethlehem in the vicinity of Old Rt. 9W. The bear reportedly had double ear tags, which means he had previous encounters with wildlife biologists.
  • DEC received a second call at approximately 8:45 a.m. about a bear spotted at the toll booth on I787 at exit 23. This bear, which reported was hit by a car twice, ran into a wooded area between I787 and the residential area on Morton Avenue.
  • DEC also received reports of bear activity in neighborhoods in Bethlehem over the weekend. The bear attempted to get into a garage and damaged tents.
  • Yesterday afternoon the bear with double ear tags resurfaced on Rose Court in Albany. The bear's history over the weekend demonstrates it is a dangerous bear with a pattern of aggressive behavior and poses a threat to public safety. Because of his dangerous behavior and injuries already sustained, the most appropriate course of action is to put the bear down.
  • DEC officers tracked the bear to a ravine where officers could safely attempt to put the bear down in a secluded area. The wound was not mortal and the bear escaped the ravine and ran up a tree where it remained overnight.
  • DEC, with the assistance of the Albany Police Department, cleared the area around the tree and it remains closed off at this time.
  • DEC has a lift to the scene to get closer to the bear so it can be safely tranquilized in the tree. A net will be in place on the ground to catch the bear if it falls from the tree. The bear will then be transported to DEC's Wildlife Center in Delmar.

Tips to Discourage Bear Activity:

  • Never approach or surround a bear - Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Avoid walking trails at night - Stay in your campsite to avoid chance encounters.
  • Use noise to scare bears - Yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
  • Never run from a bear - If you feel threatened, back away slowly.
  • Do not throw objects or food at an approaching Bear - This practice will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food.

Report a black bear sighting by calling DEC at: (518) 408-5852.

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