Reminds New Jersey Residents Not to Feed Bears
(03/170) TRENTON - In
light of the fact that the number of black bears entering
homes in New Jersey has surpassed last year's record level,
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell reminds residents not to feed bears.
Bears increase their foraging this time of year to put on
weight for their winter dormancy.
"Whether or not it is done intentionally,
feeding bears is inhumane and dangerous, because it can
ultimately lead to aggressive bear behavior," Campbell
said. "Once a bear associates people with food, it
is only a matter of time before it pursues garbage and food
stored in peoples' homes."
So far this year, the DEP's Division of
Fish and Wildlife has documented 58 instances of bears entering
homes in North Jersey, three more home entries than last
year. In addition, the DEP has documented 21 attempted home
Just last week, a homeowner in West Milford,
Passaic County, heard banging at his front door only to
find a bear with its face pressed against the screen. A
similar looking bear was seen the prior week rooting through
the resident's garbage.
Earlier this month, a 400-pound bear marked
with yellow ear tags entered a homeowner's garage in Stillwater,
Sussex County, by breaking a glass door to get at garbage.
A bear of identical description returned the following week,
pushing in the plywood where the glass used to be.
Bears have attempted to push in window-mounted
air conditioners to gain access to homes, but more often
they push through screen doors or windows, or tear the doors
off garages. Bears broke into vehicles nine times this year.
Black bears will consume whatever is available,
so it is important to keep one's property as temptation-free
Bear-proofing one's home includes storing
garbage in an airtight container in a secure area, such
as a basement. Garbage containers should be washed at least
once a week with a disinfectant to eliminate odors. Outside
feeding of dogs and cats should occur only during daylight,
and any uneaten food should be removed immediately. Birdfeeders
should be hung from a free-hanging wire at least eight feed
above the ground. Barbecue grills should be cleaned to minimize
food odors and stored securely.
Bear damage and nuisance complaints may
be reported to the DEP's Wildlife Control Unit weekdays
between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. by calling (908) 735-8793.
For the fastest response, residents should call their local