FAIRFIELD, NJ - The Black Bear population around the state is just becoming active after the winter hibernation season, and sightings have been reported several times in Fairfield this past week. This photo, taken at on Sunday, May 3, at about 2pm, shows a Black Bear crossing over Grace Court in Fairfield.
Since Sunday, Black Bears - possibly the same bear - have also been reported in several other locations around Fairfield:
Wednesday, May 6
Thursday, May 7
Once found only in habitats around northwestern New Jersey, the Black Bear has been expanding its territory through all 21 counties in New Jersey and its populations have been increasing. They are not only the largest animal found in the state, but a vital component of its ecosystem as well.
Correct Human Response to a Bear
If you encounter a bear:
“Residents can substantially reduce the risk of interactions with
The Black Bears are roaming the area with the expectation of finding food. While it is illegal to intentionally feed the Black Bears in New Jersey and is also punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, residents commonly don't realize that they are attracting the bears with their garbage, their pet foods placed outside, and their outdoor cooking odors. The most common problem among residents is Black Bears getting into their garbage which the bears can easily smell from wide distances away.
Wildlife experts from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency remind residents that unless a bear is directly causing a safety threat to humans or to a home, they should be left alone. There are, however, safety precautions everyone can take to decrease their chances of attracting a bear to their home: