BREAKS, Va. (WYMT) — As summer rolls around, more campers are arriving at state and national parks to pitch a tent, but officials are reminding people to bear-proof their campground and stay safe around local wildlife feel.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in bear-related incidents,” said Austin Bradley, Superintendent of Breaks Interstate Park, “where coolers are stolen and bears get into people’s vehicles with food left unsecured.”
Many parks have installed bear-proof trash cans, but sometimes that’s not enough to deter bears from migrating to campgrounds.
“One of the most important things humans can do to avoid any kind of bear-human conflict is to reduce the presence of food and also reduce strong odors in their homes and on their campsites,” Bradley said.
Bradley added that cooking smells and even pet food can attract bears to an area, but all native wildlife should not be fed to avoid becoming dependent on the extra food.
“The animals lose the ability to feed on their natural food sources out in the forest and become dependent on humans,” Bradley said.
Bradley added that while some animals do approach and appear friendly, they have become accustomed to being around humans, remember they are still wild animals, feeding the animals is illegal and think to appreciate nature from a safe distance.
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