New DEC regulation prohibits feeding of black bears

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week a new regulation prohibiting the intentional or unintentional feeding of black bears.

The regulation comes after an increase in the number of conflicts between bears and people statewide.

Environmental experts note that the population of black bears in New York has been on the rise in recent years. That increased population has been accompanied by a growing number of interactions between bears and humans.

DEC has long prohibited the intentional feeding of bears in proximity to certain locations. This new regulation outlaws the incidental feeding of bears statewide.

"Specifically, the regulation bans intentional feeding of black bears, and, after previous written notice from DEC, also prohibits incidental or indirect feeding of black bears through food attractants such as garbage, refuse or bird seed," officials said in a prepared statement.

When bears become problematic in a specific area, DEC can now require landowners to remove things like birdfeeders from their property.

In general, DEC recommends that homeowners discontinue bird feeding activity in the spring, when bears begin emerging from their dens and natural food sources are lacking.

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