FALL RIVER: An increase in apples and acorns in Fall River neighbourhoods likely led to an increase in bear sightings, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said.
The Laker News spotted a couple of bear warning signs at the LWF Hall in Fall River so inquired with DNRR on what led to them being placed near Richardson Drive.
Patricia Jreige said sightings of bears were up in Fall River this summer and into the fall.
“Apples and acorns are abundant in the community this year which likely contributed to the increase in late summer and fall sightings,” said Jreige.
“If sightings persist in specific areas, our staff inform and educate residents through brochures, door hangers, media, etc.”
She said bears are normally very shy and like to avoid humans, however they are large, powerful animals that should be treated with caution and respect.
People should practice prevention to reduce the chances of attracting bears around their homes:
Store garbage indoors or in metal bear-proof containers. On collection day, put garbage out as close to pick up time as possible. If you’re going to miss collection day, take garbage to the disposal site before you leave.
Never put meat, fish, bones, or seafood shells in the compost. Turn compost often to prevent odours and hasten decomposition. Apply lime to reduce odour.
Keep your green cart in a shady area away from forest cover. Put meat or fish scraps in a plastic container or bag and store in the freezer until collection day. Rinse your cart periodically.
Keep barbecue grills clean and free of grease. The smell of animal fat and barbecue sauce may attract a hungry bear. Store the barbecue indoors if possible.
If pets are fed outside, remove spillage and leftovers promptly.
Remove bird feeders once their natural food sources are available. If you continue bird feeding, and if a bear has been seen in your neighbourhood, put feeders indoors at night and clean up spillage.
Pick fruit and berries growing near your home that may attract bears. Even if you don’t want the fruit, dispose of it before attracts a bear’s attention.
Jreige said should you encounter a bear:
Speak in a firm authoritative voice and slowly back away. Do not look the bear in the eyes.
Leave escape routes open for the bear.
If the bear begins to follow you, drop something – not food – to distract the bear as you move away.
Do not make threatening gestures or sudden moves unless you are being attacked.
Never run or climb a tree. Bears excel at both activities.
If a bear attacks you, fight back with anything and everything you can, and make a lot of noise. Do not ‘play dead’. Use pepper spray if you have it.