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Why Are Black Bears In The Triad?

10:37 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC - It's not every day you find a black bear in the Triad.  But over the past five days, there have been five bear sightings in the area.


Friday, a Winston-Salem woman spotted a bear in her backyard eating from her bird feeder. Later that same afternoon, another bear sighting was reported - this time, near a movie theater.


Saturday, a bear was found dead along I-40 East. Wednesday morning, another bear was found dead on a road in Forsyth County.

Then in Greensboro, a bear was discovered in a tree near North Carolina A&T State University Wednesday morning.


READ: Police: Bear Hanging Out Near A&T's Campus 

So what's the reason for the bears? Experts say it's a simple as the season.

A majority of the bears have just come out of hibernation, and cubs are trying to make it on their own for the first time without their mother's guidance.

Bears come out of hibernation, search for food, and establish their territories, meaning where they live.  

Cubs stay with their mothers in those territories for about a year, but after that, they get the boot.

An animal expert says that's most likely what happened with the cub found in Greensboro. It wandered away and ended up in the Triad.

"They have to keep wandering until they can find a place to set up home. This takes them sometimes far away from their mother's home range so they end up wandering through cities and towns just looking for a place where they can be a bear," said Rick Betton, Director of Exhibits and Programs, Greensboro Science Center.

Betton says bears are natural wanderers, and what they're looking for is a place with plenty of food.

"Typically it would try to hide mostly during the day and then at night it would wander around, probably going through garbage cans, looking for sources of food and moving along, keeping the lookout for a place, a patch of woods away from people where it can set up territory," explained Betton.

Wildlife officers were called to Greensboro Wednesday to access the situation with the cub. They decided not to move the animal. According to their website, they do not move bears unless they are a threat to humans. 

Contrary to popular belief, commission employees will not trap and relocate nuisance bears for the following reasons:
This would simply move the problem, rather than solve it. The solution is to modify your habits and prevent this bear and other bears from being attracted to your home and neighborhood.
Most conflicts do not warrant trapping. For example, a bear simply being in a neighborhood is not necessarily threatening or cause for trapping.
In most cases, people are the cause of the problem and the best long-term solution involves removal of attractants (bird feeders, unsecured garbage) rather than destruction of the bear.
Simply catching every bear that someone sees is not an option; we have no remote places left to relocate bears where they will not come into contact with humans.
Relocated bears often return to the place they were originally captured.
The process of catching bears is difficult, and can be more dangerous for the bear, the public, and those involved in the capture. It is best to let the bear take its natural course out of the neighborhood or city.
WRC will not trap the bear, unless human safety is threatened. WRC will determine if a bear should be trapped. If a bear's behavior is escalating to bold and threatening behavior towards people, commission staff will euthanize the bear.

WFMY News 2

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