Whether Fires Drive Them Into Town Or Not, Same Rule Applies: Don't Feed The Bears

Sep 11, 2017

More than two dozen large wildfires are burning across Oregon.  This has raised concerns that large animals, namely bears, may come into areas where people live to forage before hibernation season.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. 

Credit Jean-Guy Dallaire / Flickr.com

Bears go into eating overdrive during late summer and autumn, some increasing their weight by more than a third by the time it’s winter.  With recent wildfires burning up countless acres of habitat, it’s uncertain just how this affects bears’ supply of berries and grasses.

Credit Bill Gracey / Flickr.com

Michelle Dennehy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says she’s not heard of any cases yet, but says it’s important people don’t indulge any hungry bears that come into their neighborhood.

"There’s a saying: ‘A fed bear is a dead bear,’" says Dennehy.  "‘Cause when you start feeding bears you basically get them habituated to people, and to expecting food from people and expecting it from neighborhoods.  So they’re not going to a natural food source, they’re coming into residential areas.

"And those bears are considered public safety risks, and we do have to put down bears like that sometimes.” 

Dennehy says people should call wildlife officials if a bear appears in their community.  She adds that while the devastation across Oregon is difficult to watch, in many ways fires rejuvenate the habitat through new growth.  

Copyright 2017, KLCC.