Some southern Maine residents have noticed a furry presence in their backyards this summer.
There were several black bear sightings reported in Scarborough on Tuesday and Wednesday — and more were spotted in South Portland, the Press Herald reported.
“We aren’t sure if it’s one bear or a couple, but the Maine Wardens Service says bear calls have increased due to the dry weather and lack of vegetation in the bear habitats,” the Scarborough Police Department posted on Facebook, along with a video of a bear knocking down a bird feeder.
The nuts and huckleberries that bears usually eat haven’t grown yet, leading the opportunistic bears to travel into neighborhoods, Scarborough Animal Control Officer Chris Creps told BDN Portland.
“They’ve been traveling into a dense neighborhood,” Creps said. “And when they cross Route 1 people get a little worried.”
Southern coastal and midcoast Maine typically see the fewest number of bears, according to Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife data. There are usually “half a dozen” reports every summer in Scarborough, Creps said.
Scarborough Police recommended follow a few guidelines:
- Secure your trash in a garage or shed
- Bring in your bird feeders for a few weeks
- Keep your outdoor grill clean after cooking
- Don’t throw any food scraps into your yard
- Keep cats inside and dogs confined to your yard
There have been a few reported bear attacks in Maine in the past, but only once has the situation turned deadly. In 1936, two Ellsworth men were killed by bear they kept in a cage at a gas station while attempting to feed it.