CENTRAL POINT, Ore.—The City of Ashland is experiencing a high level of bear problems. ODFW is asking residents to be extra vigilant and take steps to not feed bears.

Since the beginning of March, ODFW has documented 29 complaints about bears inside city limits, including aggressive actions, nuisance behaviors, and loss of wariness.  Many of these incidents are the result of access to garbage, bird seed, compost, or other types of food rewards.

The bear problems have been ongoing since early March. This morning, a bear showing signs of habituation (including being observed multiple times on a resident’s porch in a high-density residential area near Lithia Park) was put down by wildlife managers. Based on examination of the sow, she was young (2-3 years old) and had not yet reproduced (so not caring for cubs). Meat from this bear has been salvaged and will be donated to someone in need.

“People should ‘Be Bear Aware’ and remember black bears are wild animals that can behave unpredictably, and may quickly become a human safety problem if habituated to human food,” said Steve Niemela, ODFW Rogue District Wildlife Biologist. “Bears just do what bears do, it’s all of our job collectively to avoid creating situations that are dangerous for people and bears.”

“Protecting public safety is our top priority, but this is the worst part of any wildlife biologist’s job,” continued Niemela. “I’m imploring residents of Ashland to please limit food sources for bears so they will leave this area and we won’t need to kill any more bears.”

ODFW, Wildlife Services, and the Ashland Police Department are asking all residents of Ashland to do everything they can to avoid habituating these animals.  The best ways to keep bears and people safe is to prevent bears from getting food rewards within the City. 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 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.

You can report bear activity in Ashland through the city’s problem reporting website at:  https://gis.ashland.or.us/bear/

Or, report by calling ODFW directly at 541-826-8774.

If you have an immediate threat to human health and safety please dial 911.

More information: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/black_bears.asp

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