How to Coexist with Black Bears

No animal exemplifies the spirit of Tennessee’s wilderness quite like the black bear. But, as these beautiful animals’ populations increase, they may occasionally be seen in town. A black bear seen in the suburbs does not need to be killed or removed, unless it is showing signs that it has become acclimated to humans. If there have been black bears spotted near your suburban neighborhood:

-There was almost certainly something that lured it there. Get in touch with your neighbors to make sure everyone has secured their trash and pet food.

-Don’t leave pet food outside. This will attract bears and cause them to associate humans with food.

-Keep your trash can lids locked. You can purchase latches online.

-Keep your grill clean and don’t leave food waste outside.

-Although black bear predation on cats and dogs is rare, keep pets properly contained and supervised.

-When bears are active in your neighborhood, bring bird feeders inside.

-NEVER pursue or corner a bear, even to take photos.

-Keep children inside or properly supervised. Be sure to advise children to never approach wildlife.

-If a black bear does actually approach you, raise and wave your arms and yell at it. Black bears rarely approach humans but in rare cases where one does approach a person, it can usually be deterred by intimidation. Do not play dead or run. Report the bear to officials (TWRA if you live in Tennessee) promptly.

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