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June 04. 2014 12:41AM

Bedford residents report bear sightings


A black bear tries to get remaining seeds from a bird feeder in the Sebbins Pond Drive area of Bedford. Police are asking residents to take down their bird feeders, keep grills clean and secure trash to deter bears from invading their properties. (Courtesy Photo by Jamie Gauci)

BEDFORD — Police have received about a dozen calls reporting bear sightings in town, and they will take action if black bears are seen roaming playgrounds or schools.

However, residents should take steps to prevent the animals from invading their backyards.

“A lot of people are calling in about bears wreaking havoc and ripping down bird feeders,” said Steven Paul, Bedford animal control officer. “There’s no concern if bears are seen in backyards or crossing the street.”

He said people should take down their bird feeders and clean up remaining seeds from their yards. Also, keeping grills clean and storing trash in a secure container or location will also deter bears.

“That’s the big thing. The smell of food attracts bears, and once they find a source of food, they’ll keep coming back. If they don’t find any, they’ll move on,” said Paul.

Reports began flooding into the police station in March when bears emerge from their winter nap. There have been sightings of a mother and a set of cubs, and also of a male bear roaming town. The sightings are not confined to one area of town.“Bears roam a very large area. They can roam on one side of town, then in other areas. They’re not just staying in one person’s backyard,” said Paul.

People should keep their distance from the bears, and not get in between a mother and her cubs.

“They’re more afraid of you than you are of it. Make some noise, bang on pots and pans, and they’ll take off,” he said.

According to N.H. Fish and Game, black bears change their diet seasonally, taking advantage of available food. When they emerge from their den in spring, black bears eat grasses and succulent plants. In summer, they search for berries, fruits, roots, blossoms and insects, and also feed on beechnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts in fall. When natural foods are not abundant, black bears will seek vegetable crops, beehives, garbage, suet and sometimes livestock. Bears are more active at night. Adult male black bears may range up to 120 square miles, while females range about 10 square miles. Cubs usually stay with their mothers for about two years.

If you see black bears around schools, playgrounds, near playing children or if they are aggressive, call Paul at 472-5113, ext. 355.

sclark@newstote.com


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