Ashland residents urged to be ‘bear aware’

ASHLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding Ashland residents and visitors to be aware of bears as they become more active during the spring.

ODFW said bears are coming down from the mountains and into town in search of food. So far this year, ten nuisance bear reports were submitted to wildlife officials.

Last year, ODFW logged over 100 complaints about bears within city limits. Most of the incidents were related to garbage, birdseed, compost, and other types of food sources that draw bears to urban areas.

“People should ‘be bear aware’ and do their part to avoid creating situations that are dangerous for people and bears,” said Mathew Vargas, ODFW’s Rogue District assistant wildlife biologist. “Black bears are wild animals that can behave unpredictably and may quickly become a human safety problem if habituated to human food.”

Wildlife officials and Ashland police are asking the public to take the following steps to prevent bears from getting food within the city:

  • 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 a 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.

Bear activity in Ashland can be reported to the city at:  https://gis.ashland.or.us/bear/

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