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Central Oregon Coast's Seal Rock Has a Bear Feeding Problem

Published 06/26/2017 at 5:04 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Central Oregon Coast's Seal Rock Has a Bear Feeding Problem

(Waldport, Oregon) – In one central Oregon coast spot, you can almost hear Yogi and BooBoo asking about the next “pic-a-nic basket.”

In actuality it's not that amusing, as Seal Rock – between Newport and Waldport – has a bit of a bear problem. Bears that like to raid human food sources.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently sent out a bit of a warning to residents and visitors alike to not feed the black bears that like to roam the area, especially by keeping garbage tucked away and hidden from them. Up to eight bears are known to raid the area around the village, feeding from unsecured garbage containers and even bird feeders.

This creates dangers for you, for others – and even more so for the bears. As the saying goes among wildlife professionals: “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

“If you care about bears, don’t feed them and ask your neighbors not to, either.” said Jason Kirchner, ODFW district wildlife biologist. “Fed bears can become nuisance bears that have to be put down for public safety.”

Kirchner said their sense of smell is extremely acute and the creatures will travel long distances to reach an easy food source.

ODFW had several guidelines for visitors and residents which can help prevent issues.

- Do not leave food unattended. In fact, remove all food attractants of any kind. Bears are creatures of habit and tend to return to the locales where they have previously discovered food.

- Do not feed birds – and this includes taking down bird feeders. ODFW said that even means hummingbird feeders, and make sure you sweep away any seeds fallen on the ground.

- Keep all pet food and livestock feed inside the house or garage.

- Keep all garbage stored inside your home or in an enclosed garage. This will also include any Oregon coast visitors who are using vacation rentals in the area. Only place it outside just before the pick-up time.

- Use bear-resistant garbage cans.

- If bears have previously ransacked your garbage cans, clean them with hot water and bleach or ammonia to remove any odors.

- Using ammonia-soaked rags in and around the garbage containers can help repel bears. Also make sure to double bag all refuse.

- Barbecue grills need to also be cleaned as they leave food odors that can attract the black bears, then store them inside.

ODFW also added that another somewhat extreme measure may be required.

“Consider three strands of low-cost electric fencing as an easy way to deter bears from fruit trees, compost piles, beehives and garbage cans,” the agency said.

Some 25,000 to 30,000 black bears roam the state of Oregon. Indeed, they are most common species of bear in North America. They are omnivorous and have a diverse diet in this state, consisting of berries, grasses, plants and fruit. They are not active predators, but do occasionally chow down on smaller animals and insects.

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