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Drought conditions forcing some bears to find food in neighborhoods

More black bears are being seen in Missouri.
More black bears are being seen in Missouri.
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Bears seem to have become bolder this summer with two sightings in both Moorhead and Cass county within the last week.

And while officials from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department say it’s not uncommon for them to be out this time of year, they say drought conditions are also playing a factor.

Due to a delay in berry growing or the drought wiping out berry bushes altogether, bears are being forced to get creative.

Some are turning to bird feeders, while others rummage through garbage cans to hold them over.

“There’s a depressed food supply and the bears are looking in other places, maybe wandering other places. They get along a Red River, a Sheyenne River, any creek and they’ll just wander until they find something to eat!” Doug Leier, a biologist with ND Game and Fish said.

Leier says the key to preventing bears or any wildlife from finding your backyard is to not let them get too comfortable.

“By comfort, we mean food,” he said.

Leier suggests to bring in any pet food, put the covers on your garbage cans and says to not leave any extra food on your grills or outdoor furniture.

“Bears have an exceptional sense of smell and that can draw them in,” Leier said.

Leier adds if you do have a bear in your backyard, you should never try to scare it away.

“If we leave them alone, a lot of times I mean, nothing is guaranteed, but most of the time they’re going to leave you alone,” he said.

Leier urges if the animal poses a risk to you or your family’s safety, to contact law enforcement immediately.

He also says if you do see a bear in your backyard or nearby, you can report it to Game and Fish as it helps them better track how many and in what areas bears are hanging around. You can find that link here.

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