‘Bad Food Year’ Doubled Bear Conflicts With NH Residents in 2018
Not enough food in the woods brought many bears out to the streets last year.
Remember the nearly weekly bear sightings? Especially last fall, when one would randomly show up in say, Manchester. 2018 wasn't the "year of the bear," but here in the Granite State, it certainly felt like it. According to WMUR News 9, The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmons said that there were around 800 reports of bear-human conflicts in 2018 compared to only 410 for 2017.
A "bad food year," which can take place every 8-10 years, meant more bears raided bird feeders, and garbage cans in 2018. Timmons told WMUR News 9, "we get these years where there is not adequate food for bears. When that happens, those animals supplement their diets in and around people's yards."
In the WMUR report, 2017 brought a boon in bear foods like acorns and beech nuts, which led to lots of cubs the following year. However, with so many mouths to feed and little food, some mothers abandoned their cubs. Bear rehabilitation expert Ben Kilham told WMUR "the number of conflict situations might be reduced with a statewide public education campaign to get people to make a better effort reducing food attractants. Ultimately bear human conflict is a human caused problem."