'If you're feeding birds, you're feeding bears,' police warn NC town

Bear breaks into house, opens fridge as homeowners are asleep

A bear broke into a Colorado home and scavenged for food in the fridge and nearby cabinets while the homeowners were asleep upstairs.
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A bear broke into a Colorado home and scavenged for food in the fridge and nearby cabinets while the homeowners were asleep upstairs.

Black bears in North Carolina are waking up, foraging for food and looking for love.

Habitat destruction and a rebounding black bear population in the state mean people might see more of wild residents.

Police in one North Carolina town are warning citizens how to avoid attracting black bears to their properties.

Lake Lure police said they've been getting "many calls" about bears near people's homes.

"Bear sightings are quite normal during this time of the year, when bears are starting to forage and look for mates," the police department wrote on its Facebook page on Tuesday. "You'll see them in fields, out on the roadways and yes, even in your trash and on your porch."

A video uploaded to the Facebook page of the Placer County Sheriff's Office shows a small bear that appears to respond to a shouted order not to knock over a garbage can. The video is described as taking place at a sheriff's office in North Lake T

Lake Lure police offered suggestions to avoid attracting the bears:

Don't put your garbage out the night before.

▪ Keep trash bags inside cans stored in a garage, basement or other secured area, if possible.

▪ Look into purchasing bear-proof garbage cans or garbage enclosures.

▪ Keep all garbage sites clean.

▪ If you see a bear, remain calm and leave it alone. Never feed, approach or surround a bear. Black bears tend to be shy and non-aggressive toward humans, but if frequently fed, bears can become dependent on human food, leading to more interactions with people.

▪ If you absolutely must feed your pets outside, make sure all food is consumed and empty bowls are removed.

▪ Clean all food and grease from barbecue grills after each use.

▪ Keep birdseed, bird feeders and hummingbird feeders where a bear can't reach.

▪ If a bear is in the area, remove all bird feeders — even those advertised as "bear proof."

▪ Don't leave bird seed outside.

"A bear will see this as a cafeteria," the department wrote. "If you're feeding birds, you're feeding bears. These brown, furry, awesome creatures love that bird seed you're leaving out."

VIDEO: Grandfather Mountain volunteer coordinator Lesley Platek and her son, Travis, got more than the bear necessities from the grocery store, when, on the way home, they encountered a mama bear and her four yearlings in downtown Banner Elk, N.C.

The department also noted that wildlife officials and law enforcement will not trap and relocate bears.

"There are no remote places to move bears where they won’t come into contact with people. The solution is to modify your own habits."

Black bears are the only species of bear found in North Carolina or anywhere in the eastern United States.

A California family spotted a bear swimming in their backyard pool as it looked to escape the summer heat. The Arcadia Police Department shared video on Facebook of the trespassing bear as it swam in circles in the large pool.

"The successful comeback of the American black bear in North Carolina represents one of wildlife management's greatest achievements," according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Police and wildlife officers in La Verne, Calif., rescued a bear cub with its head stuck in a plastic jug. Once freed, the uninjured cub returned to the wilderness.

Black bears were once restricted to remote areas and reached extremely low population levels in the mid-1900s. Today, black bears are found in about 60 percent of the total land area of North Carolina, focused mainly in the eastern and western parts of the state, though some venture into the Piedmont areas of central North Carolina.

For more information on black bears, go to ncwildlife.org/bear.

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