It's been a tough summer for bears in the Adirondacks, with dry weather forcing them out of their natural habitat to search for food and water.
So far this summer, six "nuisance" bears have been euthanized by state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 staff, while two others were killed by property owners for killing chickens. Complaints are up because of drought and abnormally dry weather that has limited the berry and mast crops in much of the region.
"DEC has received numerous reports of bears getting into garbage, damaging bird feeders, breaking into homes and other structures, killing chickens and harassing other livestock," DEC spokesman David Winchell said. "Repeat and egregious offenders need to be euthanized due to their habituation to obtaining food from humans and their loss of fear of humans."
Much of the nuisance activity has been related to garbage and bird feeders in the communities and campers in the Eastern High Peaks, and some campgrounds.
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The DEC has recently been dealing with a pair of nuisance bears in the town of Wilton. The bears, one of which appears to have mange, continue to get into garbage and bird feeders to obtain food. The bears have resisted attempts to haze and chase them off.
Winchell said property owners who have bears in their area should:
- Take down bird feeders and put them away until December
- Keep garbage inside and take it to the curb the morning it will be collected.
- Report nuisance bear activity to the DEC Region 5 wildlife unit at 518-897-1291.
— Don Lehman