After sightings in local communities, it’s important to be ‘bear aware’

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In the past few days, bear sightings have been reported in Attleboro and Plainville.

While it’s unclear whether the same bear was seen in both instances, it’s possible since the communities are in close proximity.

Julie Araujo of Attleboro told 12 News she was getting ready to take her dogs outside Sunday night when she noticed a panel was missing from her wooden fence. After she went upstairs to get her son to help her fix the fence, she said she saw movement outside, not knowing at first that it was a black bear.

The bear was near the fence, enjoying a snack from Araujo’s bird feeders.

“I can’t say I was scared since I was inside. It was more of excitement.” she recalled.

Araujo’s son called police to notify them of the bear. In the meantime, she used her sliding door to try and scare the bear away.

Once police arrived, they blasted their sirens in hopes of scaring the bear back further into the woods.

“I hope he doesn’t come back,” Araujo added.

Since the sighting, Araujo has taken down all of her bird feeders and cleaned up the mess left behind. She also created a makeshift guard in case the bear decides to return.

There are a few ways to stay “bear aware” and help prevent one from coming too close for comfort:

  1. Remove all bird feeders and other food. If a bear is hungry, it will do whatever it takes to find something to eat.
  2. Avoid feeding pets outdoors. I you must, be sure to clean up afterwards and leave no leftovers.
  3. Take out the garbage on the morning of pickup day, rather than the night before, giving less time for bears to pick up the scent.
  4. Keep barbecue grills clean of grease and do not leave any leftover meat on them.
  5. Last, but not least: do not feed the bears!

The R.I. Department of Environmental Management said if you do spot a bear, don’t panic. Bears are rarely aggressive toward humans and usually wander back to more secluded areas on their own.

You can report the sighting to the DEM by calling (401) 222-3070, or to MassWildlife at (508) 389-6300 or Mass.Wildlife@mass.gov.

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