The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says the coronavirus pandemic is contributing to an increase in problems with bears.
Bear project leader Andrew Timmins says complaints have increased in part because dry weather in spring and early summer reduced natural food sources for bears, driving them into residential areas. But the pandemic also is playing a role in several ways: More people are staying home, which means more garbage bins full of food waste to attract bears. And bird watchers kept their feeders up longer into the summer.
Timmins is reminding residents to secure trash receptacles and garbage cans, take down bird feeders and stop leaving pet food outside at night.
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“Bears have an extremely acute sense of smell and long memories, so we really need the cooperation of residents and visitors this summer and fall to prevent bears from returning to locations where they previously found food,” he said. “Bears are much better off in the wild, and we need to do our part to not entice them near people with food attractants.”