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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2003

Contact: Jack Kaskey
(609) 984-1795

 

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.

 

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