Black bears are native to our part of the country and at times can be found wandering through the neighborhoods near Bays Mountain, such as Ridgefields, Sullivan Gardens and Meadowview.
Most likely the bears come into those neighborhoods looking for food – garbage cans, bird feeders and pet dishes – anything that smells good to them, the bears are going to find a way to get into for a tasty meal.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has an entire website dedicated to black bears – www.bearwise.org. The site includes information about the animals, general advice for when you’re in the wild and safety tips if you were to encounter a black bear near your home.
“Leave them alone and don’t feed them,” said Megan Krager, manager of Bays Mountain Park. “One of the many reasons why black bears come into some of our neighborhoods is because they can smell the tasty treats we have around our homes.”
According to the Bearwise website, when dealing with black bears be sure to:
- Never feed or approach a black bear.
- Secure food, garbage and recycling.
- Remove bird feeders when bears are active.
- Never leave pet food outdoors.
- Clean and store grills.
- Alert neighbors to bear activity.
Remember, the City of Kingsport does not come out and manage bears. Neither do Petworks Animal Services or the Kingsport Police Department. The best thing to do if you encounter a bear is leave it alone and give it plenty of space.
“If you happen to see bear cubs in the area, look around really quick or look up into a tree. Nine times out of 10, there’s going to be a mother nearby,” Krager said. “And you don’t want to get between a mother and her cubs.”
Kingsport’s Communications Department is conducting a multi-part series this year on “Living with Nature,” which will highlight some of the animals found in our region (bears, deer, skunks, raccoons and snakes) and ways to protect you and your family if you encounter them – either in the wild or in your neighborhood.
The “Living with Nature” press releases can be found at www.kingsporttn.gov and on the Kingsport Alerts Facebook page.