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You should also practice social distancing – with bears

Just what we needed: another thing to worry about.

Bears.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation advised New Yorkers to take measures to reduce interaction with bears this spring.

“After a relatively mild winter, bears are emerging from their dens and have begun seeking out food sources,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, people sometimes make it easy for bears to find food near their homes. Fish and Wildlife staff at DEC have received reports of bears getting into garbage and pulling down bird feeders to eat the seed. It’s important that homeowners take measures to prevent bears from easily accessing these unnatural food sources.”

Feeding bears intentionally is illegal, Seggos said. It's also not a good idea.

DEC officials advised people who live near bear habitats to remove items attractive to bears by April 1. That would include bird feeders. Garbage should be secured indoors. Pets should also be fed indoors.

"These actions are necessary to live responsibly with black bears, protect people, property, and bears. Allowing bears to find food naturally keeps them out of trouble and reduces negative interactions with people and property," the DEC said in a statement.

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