The City of Summit is sharing information from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help residents learn more about living safely near black bears.
Black bears are the largest land mammal in the Garden State, and though they are most prevalent in northwestern NJ, their range is expanding south and east. Though bear sightings are down significantly from last year, New Jersey’s black bears are currently searching for food in preparation for winter, which may result in encounters with residents.
Bears tend to be wary of humans, but are attracted to neighborhoods by odors from garbage cans. It is important to store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and avoid leaving food outside. Feeding bears, whether intentionally or unintentionally by leaving food outside, is dangerous for both people and bears, and is illegal in New Jersey.
The DEP website provides information on how to avoid attracting bears, tips on how to react to an encounter with a black bear, and more. There are also safety tips for homeowners, business owners, and outdoor enthusiasts.
In the event of an encounter with a bear, residents should immediately notify local police or the DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife at 1-877-927-6337.