Rockland Responds: Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht Responds to a Bear Concern

Rockland Responds: Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht Responds to a Bear Concern

As longtime Rockland residents, we can definitely see that bears are becoming more and more of an issue as time goes on. The more bears increase in our neighborhoods, the less our emergency service personnel are willing to help. Back in the day, they used to dart bears and then bring them up to Bear Mountain. Nowadays, no one even bothers to call if they see a bear - dangerous as they are because the best response you might get is to have an officer or two come join you in watching the bear lumbering around your property, and often not even that.

Can you please explain this change in nature and what we can and cannot expect when it comes to requesting help for bears destroying property and endangering life and limb?

Thank you,

Worried Resident

Dear Worried,

Thank you for your question. Ramapo Police will always respond to protect life and property, as will other first responders, including firefighters and EMS. However, unless a bear is directly endangering someone, the police cannot remove it or take similar action.

Management of the bear population in New York is handled by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Two years ago, in response to the increase in bear sightings, we reached out to DEC. They advised us that black bears are not hunters or predators but rather are foragers who tend to be timid. They eat berries, nuts, grubs, trash, and other easily available food. Loud noises will usually scare them off.

One of the easiest ways to minimize bear presence is to secure your garbage cans so that bears are not attracted to the contents. The Town Clerk's Office sells straps at a special discount to keep the cans bear-proof. Bird feeders, grease on barbecue grills, and pet food left outdoors will also attract bears.

In 2020, at our request, a DEC bear expert spoke at a Town Board meeting and gave a thorough public presentation on handling bear-human conflict in our region. A video of that presentation, along with other helpful bear resources and links, is on the Town of Ramapo website.

While you should always call the police if you perceive any concerns for your safety, the black bears that inhabit our region are rarely aggressive to humans, and the tips on our website will reduce the chance of conflict.

Michael Specht

Town of Ramapo Supervisor

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