Late fall bear sightings on the rise in western Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Bear sightings have been on the increase throughout the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts. The sightings have reportedly climbed in recent decades.

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In fact, over the last 30 years, there has been an increase in the amount of bears in our region. This is actually a good sign because it shows that these animals have a great habitat to live in, and are thriving. What is not good, is when they interact with humans.

This past summer and spring, NEWS10’s sister station in Springfield received many pictures and videos of bears in neighborhoods across the region. Many bears find food sources in peoples’ backyards, at birdfeeders, or in trash cans. The best way to avoid this is by keeping trash cans inside or tightly sealed, and by not having bird feeders out.

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According to Patti Steinman from Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife, “A bear is not a true hibernator, so meaning that on warm days they may be out looking for food. When the days are sometimes warmer with climate change we actually see the bear actually out looking for food.”

Thursday, we will have a mild day across the region with temperatures in the 60s for many locations. This warmer than average weather will allow for bears to go out and find more food. This is why it’s important to bring in those bird feeders and bring in the trash, until it is trash day.

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As we head into the winter months, we will notice fewer and fewer bear sightings across the region.

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