“We have deer, foxes and squirrels and rabbits, many things...but never bears,” says Maria Martinez-Campos of Greece who saw a black bear in her backyard earlier this week.
“My husband said hey! look at the bear...he's watching us. I was scared, really, really scared.”
Martinez-Campos’s fear didn’t last for long as the bear was caught late Thursday night by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The bear is a young male, two to three years old weighing 170 pounds. The capture was what bear experts with the DEC call a “live” capture. The bear will be released at least 60-70 miles from Greece in either Yates or Ontario County.
“On Monday, we got a call he was seen by a bow hunter in Braddock Bay and then Tuesday and Wednesday, the same residence, bird feeders and apple trees,“ says Greg Furst, a wildlife technician and black bear expert with the DEC in Livingston County.
Furst says this year, black bears have migrated from the New York’s Southern Tier deep into Monroe County largely due to the drought which is forcing them to look for easier food sources. Residential areas contain some of the most convenient foods sources such as bird feeders, fruited trees, pet food and garbage. Black bears are not going anywhere anytime soon. The DEC estimates there are four to five bears living inMonroe County at any given time.
“We're living in bear country now, they're going to continue to increase their numbers,” says Furst, “once they settle in and that becomes their home range, that population grows even faster.
The problem has spurred a black bear awareness campaign by the DEC.
“They look round and clumsy and fat but they are solid muscle. They can use their claws and hands to climb a tree like a cat.”
The DEC is holding two public forums on black bear awareness:
October 22nd at Churchville-Chili High School from 7-9 p.m.
October 25th at the Fire Safety Building in Canandaigua from 7-9 p.m.
To report a black bear sighting, call the Avon Wildlife Office: (585) 226-5380
For more information about black bears visit: www.dec.ny.gov