Bear activity spikes in western NC

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A stock photo of a black bear.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A lackluster acorn crop in the higher elevations has led to more bear sightings in western North Carolina valleys, with experts saying the increased activity likely will last into the winter.

According to the The Asheville Citizen-Times, bears were sighted on Wednesday at Asheville High School, which led officials to order a lockdown. Another bear was spotted in West Asheville, and a bear cub was hit by a car on Interstate 26 south of Asheville.

“We’ve had lots of bear calls,” said Mike Carraway, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission told the paper. “We’ve seen an increase in the last month and especially in the last week.”

Bears are migrating into valley locations because of more plentiful food as they seek to “fatten up” before winter hibernation. Carraway attributed the poor mast crop in the high mountains to excessive rain.

While searching for acorns, bears also will feed on just about anything else they can find, often from human sources. “They will get into trash and bird feeders if they can find them,” Carraway said. “Any kind of fruit tree will attract bears. I would advise people to take bird feeders down and don’t leave trash out overnight.”

Source: The Asheville Citizen Times

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