Community

Black bear spotted in Melody Ranch

JACKSON, Wyo. — A black bear was spotted last evening, Sept. 23, in the Melody Ranch neighborhood.

According to a resident in the area, Game and Fish was alerted and relocated the bear last night.

Bears are in a state of hyperphagia during the fall months in which they eat and drink nonstop to put on weight for the winter hibernation. During hyperphagia, bears are very active, seeking out food sources.

It is extremely important bears do not receive any human food rewards, says the National Park Service. Bears that eat human food can lose their preference for natural food sources and their fear of humans. Over time, these bears may begin approaching people in search of food. They can become aggressive, unpredictable, and dangerous. Bears looking for human food and garbage can damage property and injure people. These bears pose a risk to public safety and are often euthanized as a result.

According to the National Park Service, studies have also shown that bears that lose their fear of people have a shorter life expectancy than bears that feed on natural foods and are afraid of people. As bears become comfortable around humans, they are more likely to be in areas where humans are. These bears are at risk of being euthanized to protect people, getting hit by a car, and becoming an easy target for poachers.

“It’s getting to be that time of year when natural foods are drying up. These bears have a great sense of smell and are going to zero in on whatever they come across,” Mark Gocke WGFD Public Information Specialist told Buckrail back in August.

For the community, that means making sure all attractants are secure. Attractants include bird feeders, pet food, livestock feed, compost, BBQ grills and garbage. Game and Fish is discouraging people from putting out the garbage the night before trash collection to make sure bears do not have access.

More information about proper food storage can be found here.

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