Wildlife officials warn about black bears

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH — With black bear sightings becoming more common throughout North Carolina, wildlife officials want people to be wary to reduce the possibility of a conflict.

Wildlife biologist Ann May of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission says occasionally when someone sees a bear, crowds gather. May says the best option is to stay away, not interfere with the bear and let it move away on its own.

In spring, juvenile bears roam beyond their previous home range, while adult bears can roam extensively to find food and mates. If left alone, most transient bears will find their way out of town and return to their natural habitat.

The commission rarely relocates bears because of the danger to humans and the bear. Also, relocated bears often return to where they were originally captured.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports bear encounters have been reported in both the Black Balsam and Shining Rock Wilderness areas, north of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County. There were no injuries.

The newspaper reports bears have obtained food from visitors. This time of the year black bears are looking for food that campers and trail users bring on their trips.