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Keep Marylandís Black Bears Wild
ANNAPOLIS, MD - The Maryland Department of Natural Resourcesí (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service (WHS) would like to remind people living in and visiting bear country to do their part to help keep Marylandís black bears wild. In April, after a long winter slumber, bears begin to emerge from their dens hungry and looking for food. Bears may cover long distances in search of food, and will take advantage of unnatural food sources if they are available. Humans who make food available to bears usually create a problem for both bears and people.
Bears can easily become habituated to human activity and begin to associate people with food, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. Keeping bears wild is a community effort that benefits both bears and people, and spring is a good time to start. By not attracting the bears now, you can keep them away throughout the year.
Trash and birdfeeders are the two most common unnatural food sources that lure bears into developed areas. Keep trash locked in bear proof trash containers or inside buildings until the day of trash pick-up. Remove trash often so smells are less likely to attract an unwanted bruin. Clean trash cans with ammonia after they are emptied and rinse food cans before placing them in the trash.
Take bird feeders down from April through November, as natural foods are plentiful during this time. If you insist on feeding the birds, it is recommended that you bring your feeders in at night when bears are more active. This will not only prevent bears from eating your birdseed but it will also prevent them from destroying the feeder to get to the food. You may also consider hanging your bird feeders at least 10 feet above the ground and at least six feet from any vertical structure, such as a building or tree. Feeders can be hung this way from a cable suspended between two trees.
Seeing a bear in the wild can be an experience of a lifetime. Remember, though, that these remarkable animals are meant to be in the wild. Please do your part to ensure these charismatic animals stay wild.
For more information on living with black bears please call the Western Regional Office at 301-777-2136 or visit us online http://www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/infocus/wildlife.asp.
April 13, 2006
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov