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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

May 17, 2007

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994


(07/29) TRENTON -Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the launch of a statewide radio-advertisement campaign to help New Jerseyans learn more about living with black bears and heighten public awareness about the risks of feeding them.

“We’re blanketing New Jersey with the message that residents can enjoy seeing bears from a distance, but enticing them into neighborhoods or shopping areas with food, garbage or bird feeders is the wrong thing to do,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Taking precautions with storage and disposal of food and garbage is the best way to prevent bears from becoming a nuisance near homes or stores.”

Under a public-education partnership agreement with the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, 60-second and 30-second spots are now airing on some 40 radio stations throughout New Jersey. The NJBA’s network of member stations broadcast the spots as airtime schedules allow.

The radio spots inform residents that the mere presence of a bear in a residential area is not a problem, but feeding the animals can have serious consequences for homeowners, their neighbors and the bear. Ransacked garbage cans and bird feeders account for the vast majority of bear complaints reported to the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Bears that learn to associate food with people readily become a nuisance, are more likely to damage property or exhibit aggression, and may have to be destroyed. What’s more, it’s illegal to feed bears in New Jersey. Under the law, people caught feeding bears receive a written warning for the first violation, but face a $1,000 fine for every subsequent offense.

The DEP recommends that residents and businesses avoid attracting bears by using bear-resistant cans or Dumpsters. Bring in bird feeders, especially during summer. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before. Keep outdoor grills clean. Pick up uneaten pet food and bring in the bowls. A complete list of tips is available at:

Most of New Jersey’s black bears live in the northwestern portion of the state, but sightings have been reported in all 21 counties - a fact that underscores the need to educate all residents about living with bears.

The radio-ad campaign on bears represents the second time the DEP has partnered with the NJBA to educate residents; the DEP’s Clean Water New Jersey campaign, which offers information on protecting water quality, has been running on NJBA-member radio stations since 2005.

The campaign could be expanded later this year to include television spots, the airing of which is included in the NJBA partnership agreement. The year-long agreement also allows the DEP to revise content of the radio spots to accommodate seasonal changes in the activities of bears and other wildlife.

To hear the three radio spots, visit:




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Last Updated: May 17, 2007