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Living with Wildlife, Black Bears in Massachusetts

black bear
LUDLOW, Mass. (WGGB)- In Massachusetts Black bears have been increasing in numbers for the past 35 years; there are now over 4,000 bears in the state and they are visible in our neighborhoods.

The black bears are well fed and safe at the Lupa zoo in Ludlow. But right down the street this week there was one out roaming around town. There was also a cub in a Springfield neighborhood yesterday.

“It’s all about us going and interfering where they live, we are building, we’re expanding, and they’re roaming,” says Stan Lupa at the Lupa Zoo.

The weather is warm, so bears in the wild are out and about just looking to stay alive. They come out of the woods and near city streets to look for food.

“A trash can smells just as good as any animal to chase down so they will come in. It happens almost one a year; we’ll get a stray black bear,” Lupa explains.

He adds that it could be that they’re getting to be braver, or at least more comfortable with seeing humans.

But more than likely they will get flustered when seeing someone, not know which direction to go in, and try to get away.

“I recommend when people are walking near the Quabbin to wear a bell on their belt (ding ding ding) and the bear can hear it,” Lupa suggests.

He also warns to keep any food out of sight outside of your home. If a food source is not easily accessible the bear will move on to an easier target.

Black bears are not typically aggressive animals, but if one feels its threatened or fears for the well-being of their cub, it could become dangerous.

If you see a bear, don’t get too close; keep tabs on the animal from a distance.

You can also contact Environmental Police: 24-hour radio room at (800) 632-8075, or MassWildlife at (508) 389-6300 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

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