DEC To New Yorkers: Don’t Feed The Black Bears

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Apparently it took a new state regulation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to warn people that it’s probably not a good idea to feed the black bears — which can average 300 pounds — they encounter.

The DEC put out a news release this afternoon saying they’ve announced a new state regulation that prohibits the feeding of black bears.

“As black bear numbers have increased significantly in recent years and bears have become more widespread throughout New York, the number of interactions between bears and people has grown, often resulting from the intentional or incidental feeding of bears,” the news release reads.

“Previously, DEC prohibited the intentional feeding of bears in proximity to certain locations. In an effort to reduce bear habituation to human-supplied foods and future human-bear conflicts, DEC’s new regulation prohibits both incidental and intentional feeding of bears statewide.”

The ban allows the DEC to remove any food or garbage on people’s properties that may be attracting bears.

Here’s some details on the black bear from the DEC:

The black bear is New York’s second largest land mammal; only the moose is larger. An average adult male weighs about 300 pounds while females average about 170 pounds. The largest bear reported from New York weighed approximately 750 pounds. Black bears are omnivorous, eating grasses, berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, insects, grubs, and carrion, as well as human sources of food like corn, honey, bird seed, trash, and pet food when available.

Although the color of black bears actually varies widely in other parts of North America, over 99.9% of the black bears in New York are jet black in color with a brown muzzle.

Once thought to inhabit only large forests, over the past two decades, black bears have been expanding their range throughout New York and can now be found in a variety of habitats including developed areas. As recently as the mid-1990s, black bears occupied three relatively distinct ranges: Adirondack, Catskill, and Allegany.

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