Bear Spottings Could Be Increasing

By: Jeff Allen Email
By: Jeff Allen Email

The recent string of nice weather is a big change from earlier this month when we saw a long cold snap throughout southeastern Kentucky.

Experts say that cold snap damaged many of the things that black bears eat.

That means bears could be making their presence known throughout eastern Kentucky as they look for other things to eat.

Randy Cross says it's not unusual to see bears walk right through his apartment complex in Cumberland.

Wildlife experts say this could something seen more often this year after many of the fruit bearing trees bears feed off of were damaged.

“Animals that depend upon these things aren't going to have that large amount of food as they would normally,” Rick Fuller said.

Rick Fuller manages Kingdom Come State Park where he says bears are spotted all the time.

He says since bears go for the easiest sources of food and if they can't find it in nature they could come close to homes.

“They may want to come down more into homes to get into garbage and things like that,” Fuller said.

But Fuller says he thinks the problem will be much worse in places like the Smoky Mountains, where the bears compete for food much more than in southeastern Kentucky.

“I don't see any problem right now, but the easier for an animal to find the food the better they like it,” Fuller said.

Residents at the Poplar Village apartments in Cumberland say even the barbwire fences around the dumpsters don't stop bears looking for their next meal.

Experts say to avoid tempting bears that you should make garbage outside your home as inaccessible as possible, don't leave pet food outside, and avoid bird feeders.

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  • by James T. Location: Harlan on Jun 23, 2007 at 12:18 PM
    I believe Wildlife officials are concerned about lack of food this year. I was told that they are also concerned that parks like Kingdom Come refuse to bear proof even though they are being warned that they are creating a dangerous situation for the public. Bear program coordinator Steven Dobey met with park official in Frankfort expressing concerns. However, Kingdom Come refuses to bear proof because nuisance "hand fed" bears are increasing visitation thus increasing revenue from the sale of bear t-shirts and hats.How many nuisance bears will the park be allowed to create and how many will have to die before the park bear proofs and sets an example for the community. The Cumberland Gap national park has bear proofed the entire park and set a wonderful example to follow.
  • by Mary Location: Harlan on May 1, 2007 at 06:48 AM
    I think the black bears are really an asset to Harlan Co. but people should be aware that amidst their beauty, they can also be deadly. They should not be fed by people. They are wild and live in the wild so they need to live off of their habitat.


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