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Ashland residents: be bear aware

Friday, April 2, 2021

A black bear wanders onto the porch of an Ashland residence in mid-March.
Ashland bear
Black bears are moving from forested areas in search of food. Ashland residents can help by Being Bear Aware.

CENTRAL POINT, Ore – ODFW and the Ashland Police Department urge Ashland residents and visitors to ‘Be Bear Aware’ as bears are becoming more active and have begun leaving forested areas to search for food.

The City of Ashland typically experiences a high level of bear conflict yearly, usually peaking during spring when hungry bears look for an easy meal in city neighborhoods. ODFW received 10 nuisance bear complaints already this year.

In 2020, ODFW logged 103 complaints about bears inside city limits including aggressive actions, nuisance behaviors, and loss of wariness. Most of these incidents resulted from access to garbage, bird seed, compost, and other types of food rewards.

“People should “Be Bear Aware” and do their part to avoid creating situations that are dangerous for people and bears,” said Mathew Vargas, ODFW Rogue District assistant wildlife biologist “Black bears are wild animals that can behave unpredictably and may quickly become a human safety problem if habituated to human food.”

The best ways to keep bears and people safe is to prevent bears from getting food rewards within the City. To keep wild bears wild, we ask you and your neighbors to help by:

  • Never feed bears.
  • Put garbage cans out just before pick-up.
  • Recology Ashland offers bear-resistant cans, call 541-482-1471.
  • Keep pet food inside.
  • Remove bird feeders.
  • Keep BBQ grills clean or in garage.
  • Clean up fruit under fruit trees.

If you encounter a bear:

  • STOP: Never approach a bear at any time for any reason. If you see bear cubs, leave the area.
  • GIVE IT SPACE: Give any bear you encounter a way to escape.
  • STAY CALM: Do not run or make sudden movements. Face the bear and slowly back away.
  • AVOID EYE CONTACT: Don’t make eye contact with the bear.
  • DON’T RUN: It may encourage the bear to chase you.
  • FIGHT BACK: In the unlikely event you are attacked, fight back, shout, be aggressive, use rocks, sticks and hands.

Report non-emergency bear activity in Ashland through the city’s bear reporting website or by calling ODFW directly at 541-826-8774.

Dial 911 if there is an immediate threat to human health and safety.

For more information on living with bears, click here.  

Video: A black bear wanders onto the porch of an Ashland residence in mid-March.

Photo: Black bears are moving from forested areas in search of food. Ashland residents can help by Being Bear Aware.

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Contact:

Mathew Vargas, ODFW, 541-857-2407
Ashland Police Department, 541-482-5211

 
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