Bear Sighting in Hamburg

DEC says bear sightings recently have been in northern suburbs

Tom Puckett
May 17, 2018 - 4:00 am

Hamburg, NY (WBEN) Hamburg Police say they received a call about a bear sighting, something that doesn't happen often in the southtowns community.

"Some residents in the Rogers Road area saw a black bear near a shed in their yard. A picture was taken and we verified it was a bear," says Hamburg Police Chief Greg Wickett. He says the size of the bear was not quite full grown. He says sightings like this are rare, saying he recalled an incident five years ago, but nothing since.

Hamburg Police Chief Greg Wickett

Ryan Rockefeller of the DEC says bear sightings are not rare, yet not common. "We've had reports and sightings of black bears all the way up into Niagara County. We've had reports of bears in the northern suburbs of Erie County on rare occasions," says Rockefeller. He notes bears are finding suburban areas have become more suitable for bear habitat. "As more farmland has reverted to forests, the bear range has expanded, and a lot of times, younger male bears are leaving their core area and searching for their own home range," explains Rockefeller.

Ryan Rockefeller, DEC, on bears in suburbs

Rockefeller says bears show up in suburban buildout, they can get in trouble with birdseed, grills left out, and garbage. "We recommend not putting bird feeders out after April 1st, make sure your garbage is bagged correctly, not putting it at the curb before the morning of pickup. Bears will go where they can find a food reward," says Rockefeller.

If you see a bear, "enjoy it from a safe distance, allow it to leave on its own," says Rockefeller. He says as long as they're not receiving food, they'll move on. 

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