DEP Urges Motorists to Keep an Eye Out for Bears
(03/164) TRENTON - Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell urges motorists in North Jersey to drive with particular
caution in the coming weeks, as there has been a sharp rise
in collisions with black bears.
"This is a time of year when bears
frequently cross roads in search of acorns and other food
as they bulk up for winter," Campbell said. "With
New Jersey's bear population at an all time high, the number
of traffic accidents also is increasing."
Between Monday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov.
9, eleven bears were struck by motor vehicles, according
to the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife. The total number
of motorists involved in collisions with bears this year
is more than 50.
November is also the time when white-tailed
deer are involved in numerous vehicle collisions. Autumn
is the breeding season for deer, causing the animals to
become increasingly mobile.
"It's always smart to obey the speed
limit, but it's rarely more important than now, when New
Jersey's wild animals are on the move," Campbell said.
"Particularly when driving through wooded areas, slow
down and keep a watchful eye for wildlife."
Livestock owners also should be extra vigilant
about protecting their animals from bears seeking to put
on weight for their winter dormancy. Last week alone, bears
attacked goats on two different properties, a 250-pound
sheep, and two domestic rabbits. Livestock owners should
consider installing an electric fence to deter bears.
The public is asked to report bears struck
by vehicles by calling DEP toll free at (877) WARN-DEP.
Only the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife is authorized
to remove bears from the roadside.