FANWOOD, NEW JERSEY -- This time of year, bears begin searching for food to prepare for before the winter and although bear sightings and complaints are significantly lower than in recent years, it is still important to take cautionary measures to prevent bears from lingering in our area. The mere presence of a black bear is not considered a problem, generally bears tend to be wary of humans. However, bears that are fed intentionally may start to associate humans with food and will become a nuisance or aggressive in the area.

The Borough is educating residents on the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife Initiative to help live safely with bears in the area.

“It is important that we let our residents know that there are ways to prevent bears from staying in our area,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr. “By spreading the word with the Department of Environmental Protection, I hope that our residents will feel confident in taking preventative measures.”

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You can help prevent problems with black bears by following some simple tips from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Bear Facts for Homeowners

  • For the best protection, use certified, bear-resistant garbage containers if you live in an area frequented by black bears. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them within a secure location where bears are unlikely to see or smell them, like the inside walls of your garage or in the basement.
  • Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors.
  • Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
  • Clean up after pets. If you feed them outside, do so during daylight hours only. Pick up any leftover food and remove bowls immediately after they have finished,
  • Clean outdoor grills and utensils thoroughly after each use and store grills securely. Grease and food residue attract bears.
  • Do not place meat,dairy or any sweet foods in compost piles.
  • Avoid feeding birds if you live in an area frequented by black bears. Birdseed attracts bears. If you choose to feed birds, do so only during daylight hours from Dec. 1 to April 1, a time when bears are least active.
  • Avoid leaving corn out to feed deer or other wildlife.
  • Pick up any fruit or nuts around homes that fall from trees and dispose of it in garbage containers.

If you encounter a bear in your area:

  • Do not feed or approach the bear! Bears are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable.
  • Remain calm and do not run. Avoid eye contact with the bear and slowly walk away.

The Borough of Fanwood reminds residents to Immediately notify local police or the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife at (877) WARN-DEP if they encounter an aggressive bear in the area.