The number of black bear sightings in the eastern part of Massachusetts is on the rise.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, says the population has jumped from 100 in the 1970s to 4,000 in current times as bears find their way well east of Interstate 495.
Wildlife officials say many of the families in those communities aren’t used to seeing this type of wildlife and have not been educated on how to keep themselves and the bears safe.
The number one concern bear biologist Dave Wattles has is that bears are seeing backyards as buffets, eating out of bird feeders and trash cans because it’s easier than forging.
Wattles says people need to keep their yards free of food sources so bears can continue to eat in their natural habitat, “Natural foods keeps them in the forest and out of our neighborhoods,” said Wattles.
He said bears that get too comfortable with humans could lead to potential dangerous encounters.
Recently, a family of bears broke into a New Hampshire home and wildlife experts said they should be euthanized. The incident led to a large public outcry.
“If people don’t want that to be the outcome they need to listen to us and remove these food sources. That will go long way to solving the problems,” said Wattles.