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KINSMAN Officials: Feeding bears is feeding the problem



Published: Tue, August 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mating season ended in July, so sightings should be down, the wildlife official said.

By KERRI RICKARD

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

KINSMAN -- Local conservationists, hunters and communtiy leaders met here Monday with Jeff Herrick from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife to discuss what needs to be done with the black bears coming into residential areas over the past few months.

"We believe that a majority of the bears coming into the urban areas are 11/2-year-old males looking for mates during their normal mating season, which is late May through mid July, so, the majority of the sightings should be a minimum now," Herrick said.

Herrick and most of those in attendance think citizens in the suburban areas are not used to seeing wildlife and are not sure how to handle the situation because of mixed reports of sightings and confrontations.

What is feared is that people are humanizing the black bears by feeding them to the point where they no longer fear people.

The bears are also seeking out food wherever they can find it, while looking for mates. Any truck-stop trash bin will do, Herrick said.

"But what's really going on is that the bears are only being moved to later turn up again and then be killed because they are then deemed as posing a threat to people," said Dennis Malloy, a local conservationist.

"What is being done to prevent these bears from being killed if relocating them isn't working? Why are other areas not being looked at for relocation?" Malloy asked.

The problem: Herrick said the basic problem is people feeding the bears, which has to stop.

A state wildlife officer shot and killed a bear June 24 in Ashtabula County, where the bear had been relocated from Mahoning County.

The next day, officials euthanized a bear captured near Lordstown, which had been relocated from Geauga County.

Both were deemed dangerous to humanity by wildlife officials.




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