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Statewide ban on feeding black bears in NY now in effect

From the New York Department of Environmental Conservation

-- Because of a growing number of conflicts between bears and people across New York, a new state regulation prohibits the feeding of black bears.

Black bear numbers have increased significantly in recent years, and bears have become more widespread throughout the state. The result is the increased number of interactions between bears and people, often resulting from intentional or incidental feeding of bears.

Previously, the state prohibited intentional feeding of bears in proximity to certain locations. In an effort to reduce bear habituation to human-supplied foods and future human-bear conflicts, the new regulation prohibits both incidental and intentional feeding of bears statewide.

Specifically, the regulation bans intentional feeding of black bears and, after previous written notice from DEC, also prohibits incidental or indirect feeding of black bears through food attractants such as garbage, refuse or bird seed.

The regulation grants the Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to require removal of these and other food attractants when bears become problematic. The department encourages discontinuing bird feeding activity in the spring when bears emerge from dens and natural foods for bears are not abundant while natural food for birds becomes more available.

The new regulation prohibiting black bear feeding is available online.

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