Upstate biologist warns residents not to feed or approach black bears

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Some residents in the upstate have been spotting black bears in odd places such as in their backyards and on the highway.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, bear attacks aren’t common, but encounters could happen more frequently in areas closer to mountains.

“Some of the folks in the higher elevations deal with black bears day in and day out and don’t really have any issues because they’re used to either bear proofing or just practicing good Bear Wise management strategies,” Mark Carroll, wildlife biologist, said.

According to the 2015 data collected by DNR, 33% of encounters happen when bears are found messing in trash and 29% are found getting into bird feeders.

Some additional items that attract bears are barbecue grills, pet food and anything meant to attract any kind of wildlife.

Jess Kusher, biologist at Spartanburg Science Center, urges residents to never put food out to feed the bears because if the bear lingers around the neighborhood for an extended period of time, there’s a chance it may be euthanized when captured.

Carroll told 7 News that it’s never safe to approach a bear, but make note of what attracted the bear and put the item away when it leaves.

“Once that bear leaves, you should make every effort to put those things away- either lock them up in a storage building or a garage with a door on it to keep that item away from that bear,” Carroll said.

For those who want to scare the bear away from their property, Carroll suggests making a loud noise from inside a safe space, such as screaming, setting off an alarm or banging on pots and pans.

For more information about wildlife in the Upstate make sure to head over to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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