BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- They're back -- there has been a bear sighting in the McMane Avenue and Ridge Drive section of Berkeley Heights. A Berkeley Heights homeowner was enjoying her Sunday morning coffee when a bear was sited on her back deck.
The New Jersey Fish and Game website provides tips and information on garbage management and coexisting with bears.
The website states, "The most common bear problem New Jersey's residents experience is black bears getting into their garbage. Bears are attracted to neighborhoods by garbage odors, so properly securing your garbage is one of the best ways to prevent bears from becoming a nuisance in your community.
"New Jersey residents, especially those in areas frequented by black bears, should take steps to avoid attracting bears with food or garbage. This is the best way to prevent black bears from becoming a nuisance near your home."
The website also states, "Some residents may observe black bears using yards as part of their natural travel corridors. The mere presence of a black bear is not considered a problem. Generally, bears tend to be wary of people. It is important not to leave out any food or garbage that may encourage bears to linger in residential areas. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect the entire neighborhood.
"Black bears learn very quickly and bears that are fed intentionally or unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage will associate people with food. Bears will eat almost anything including human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed and small livestock. Once they find an easily accessible food source, like garbage in a housing development, they will lose their wariness of people and may return to the available food source. These bears can become a nuisance or aggressive and may have to be trapped and aversively conditioned or destroyed."
Residents are encouraged to work within their community to make sure all garbage is secured and kept away from bears. For tips on proper garbage management and coexisting with bears, visit: www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearfacts_avoid.htm
To report a nuisance black bear, call New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1.877.WARN DEP (1.877.927.6337).
Remember, never feed bears—not only is it illegal in New Jersey, it’s dangerous!