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Black bear at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.

Living with bears

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Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature

With a rash of media reports of bear sightings across North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds residents not to panic and to remain calm if you see a black bear. Bears are not inherently dangerous and seeing a bear can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for residents to appreciate from a safe distance.

Sometimes a young bear accidentally finds its way into a town when the natural corridor, river or drainage ditch it’s traveling leads into a town. If left alone, most young transient bears will find their way quickly back out of the town and to their natural habitat. People are urged not to approach or follow bears, and to use caution when driving in areas where bears have been sighted.

If a bear is in a tree, you’re urged to clear the area and allow the bear to come down on its own and move on.

The Commission cautions people to not feed bears as it rewards them for coming near people and homes, increasing the likelihood the bear will approach again. While rarely aggressive toward people, black bears can become bold when they grow accustomed to feeding on human-provided foods, such as pet foods, garbage and bird seed.

The Commission does not normally relocate bears. Bears that wander into urban or suburban settings and seek refuge in trees will most likely leave the area on their own.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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