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Bear sightings startle Capital Region residents

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Joshua Toas said it was the first time he’s ever seen a bear wandering around in public. He took a video Tuesday night of the bear walking along River Road in Genmont, less than a mile from his house.

“Pretty wild to see a bear just right in front of you like that,” Toas said.

He says the encounter did surprise him, but not enough to call the authorities.

“We’re encroaching on their lan,d so not much you can do about it. The bear was there first,” Toas said

The next morning in Guilderland, police got a call about another bear being sighted on Schoolhouse Road. Kara Peters loves jogging around here. Now she has second thoughts when the word bear comes to mind.

“I feel like I really have to be on the watch, for what could come out after me. I don’t know if they attack people,” Peters said.

Guilderland Police Deputy Chief Curtis Cox says the bear was nowhere to be found when officers arrived.

“The last report we had was that the bear was headed towards the Northway, but since then we haven’t had any more reports other than that,” Cox said.

Cox says they get several reports of bear sightings every year. For now he’s still asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for a bear Wednesday night.

“We just hope that nobody’s out in a position where the bear becomes a substantial threat to somebody,” Cox said.

Police don’t believe these are the same bears. If you have information, give them a call.

Also, Bethlehem police say there have been at least a dozen reports of bear sightings this month. They have a link on their website below with tips on how to handle a wild animal sighting.

https://www.townofbethlehem.org/FAQ/Topic?topic=30&mobile=ON

Also, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation has a protocol on how they handle bears.

The first priority in human-bear conflicts is public safety. DEC evaluates every scenario to determine the severity of the situation and to identify problem animals. Most bear problems are resolved by taking the following measures to avoid attracting bears:

• Remove bird feeders after April 1.

• Always keep garbage in sealed garbage cans inside a sturdy building like a garage or shed. Also, consider using a bear-resistant trash container.

• Remove the grease can from grills after every use. Turn the grill on "High" for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors off the grill.

• Do not place food outside to attract wildlife. Any food items used to attract birds, squirrels, or other wildlife will also attract bears.

• Do not feed pets outside.

• Do not operate refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches.

• Ask neighbors to remove attractants.

If you encounter a bear in a residential area, do not approach them. Enjoy the sighting from a safe distance and allow them to leave the area on their own. It may take several hours or even after dark, but they should leave so long as there are no attractants keeping them around.

Some situations call for DEC Wildlife staff to go afield to assess or resolve the problem. These situations include bears causing serious property damage, entering homes or buildings, or bears that are in urban/suburban settings and cannot find an escape.

If you have issues with a bear call DEC.

The Schenectady Wildlife office serves Albany, Columbia, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties; (518) 357-2355

The Stamford Wildlife office serves Delaware, Greene, Otsego and Schoharie counties; (607) 652-7367

Please see DEC’s website for more information about reducing human-bear conflicts: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6995.html

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