CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Less than a month since a black bear found a temporary home in a tree in Washington Park, bear sightings continue across the Capital Region. This past weekend, a bear and a cub were spotted in a neighborhood in the suburban southern part of Albany.
“Of late, there have certainly been more and more bear sightings in this area, as bears naturally expand their range,” said Michael Clark, a wildlife biologist for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The most recent bear sighting in Albany was in the area of Krumkill Road and Aspen Circle. There were other sightings around two miles away in Bethlehem last week, as well as one in a tree in a Rensselaer neighborhood.
Experts say they’re likely to stick around.
“They’re native to New York and they’re kind of just re-colonizing the rest of the state, so I think people should expect that these animals are here to stay and that they do need to live with them and coexist responsibly,” Clark explained.
Responsible coexistence starts with cutting off their food supply, including securing garbage.
“You don’t want bears to think that you’re a source of food, because they’ll not only keep coming to you, but they’ll start going to your neighbors,” said Stephen Hall, the owner of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Essex County.
While black bears are typically harmless, the DEC says it’s important to respect them and keep your distance, “But when bears get a little bit too close for comfort, we need to negatively condition them, yell, bang pots and pans, air horns. All those sorts of things to kind of keep that natural fear within the bears,” said Clark.
If you’re face-to-face with one, experts say you shouldn’t run, “I’ve been charged twice by grizzlies, my fault both times, and I got out of it by backing away slowly, talking gently,” said Hall, who’s worked with bears for around a decade.
If you see a bear in your neighborhood, you can report the sighting to the DEC and local authorities.