Department of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Monday, March 22, 2021

DEC Issues Guidance to Reduce Conflicts with Bears

Public Encouraged to Remove Birdfeeders, Feed Pets Indoors

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded New Yorkers to avoid conflicts with bears by taking down bird feeders and securing garbage.

DEC has already received a few reports of bear sightings across the state. As bears emerge from their dens, they use their sensitive noses to find food. Human-related food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, and garbage can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless property management, has consequences for entire communities, as well as the bears themselves.

To reduce the potential for human-bear conflicts, DEC advises everyone residing in or visiting bear country (much of upstate New York) to remove any attractants. People should take down birdfeeders and clean up any remaining bird seed by April 1, store garbage inside secure buildings, and feed pets indoors. By taking these simple steps, New Yorkers can help to ensure bears will find food naturally, which in turn protects people, property, and bears.

For more information, please visit DEC's webpage on reducing human-bear conflicts.

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