ARE BLACK BEARS A NUISANCE IN RESIDENTIAL OR SUBURBAN AREAS?
Over the past few decades, residential and suburban bear complaints have dramatically increased, surpassing traditional commodity-based complaints in many areas and not restricted to a single geographical locale. These problems may relate to rapid increases in numbers of both bears and humans, combined with habitat fragmentation by structures, highways, and agriculture. Periodic changes in weather patterns and natural food availability may also force shifts in bear movements and feeding patterns, resulting in closer contact between bears and humans. In Massachusetts, residential complaints increased 6800% between 1973-2001, while in northern Nevada nuisance bears increased 7000% between 1995-2002 (Las Vegas Sun, June 22, 2002). Similar trends are evident elsewhere. Typical residential complaints include destruction of bird feeders, consumption of pet foods, raiding and damaging of trash containers and dumpsters, digging in compost piles, breaking into sheds and outdoor structures, dama