Baby black bear reported in north Utica
UTICA — A baby black bear was reported on Lorraine Avenue in north Utica on Sunday, according to law enforcement officials with the Utica Police Department.
Police said the animal was spotted wandering through yards by a resident on Lorraine Avenue on Sunday. Officers swung by the area to check, but police said the bear cub was gone by then, the law enforcers said. Lorraine Avenue is a short residential street that branches north off River Road, across the highway from Walmart.
If you spot a bear in your yard or in the wild, the state Department of Environmental Conservation warns to keep your distance and be respectful.
Officials also want you to be aware of any possible food sources on your property, like uncovered trash cans or bird feeders.
According to the DEC, there are at least 6,000 to 8,000 black bears in areas of New York open to hunting. About 10 to 15% of those bears live in the central and western areas of the state.
Officials said transient bears are routinely encountered in the Mohawk Valley, as well as areas like the Lake Ontario Plains and the St. Lawrence Valley. Black bears typically hibernate up to five months during the winter, officials said. They are omnivores and are known to eat nearly anything, from grasses to berries, fruits, nuts, seeds and carrion.
They are also known to eat human sources of food, such as corn, honey, bird seed, trash and pet food.
Officials said black bears are naturally curious, which is why they are so willing to get close to human settlements while on the search for food.
Bears are also intelligent and learn from experience, which means bears will remember if a human feeds them and will likely come back for more, the DEC added. When a bear learns to obtain food directly from humans, officials said the bear can become bold and aggressive. Deliberate and intentional feeding of bears is illegal in New York.
Feeding bears is also unhealthy for the bears, officials said. When bears dig into garbage, they won’t distinguish between food and other trash, like soap, shaving cream, plastic and food packaging materials.
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