Bear sightings on the rise on Oregon Coast

Bear sightings on the rise on Oregon Coast

CHARLESTON, Ore. - They're big, they look cuddly and now, they're wandering into coastal communities looking for food.

Black bear sightings are on the rise in cities on the coast.

According to ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Stuart Love, the Charleston Field Office has seen an increase in reports of bear sightings in coastal cities, including Reedsport, Coos Bay, Bandon and others.

The reason? Love says the bears are growing increasingly desperate for food as winter approaches, so they're looking for it anywhere they can, including garbage cans, bird feeders and pet food.

"When a bear comes into town to try to get food, if it's not successful, doesn't get into garbage cans, nobody feeds it, that type of thing, the bear will move on, it won't come back to town. But if they're successful, then they start coming back."

Love says homeowners need to take the attraction away from bears, putting pet food indoors and bird feeders out of reach.

He says most bears won't pose a threat until they get comfortable.

"As they do that and become successful, more times they become more bold. And eventually they're comes a point where they can become aggressive towards people. So taking away that initial attraction for bears is imperative not only for the bears case but also for people."

Love says the ODFW hosts "Living in Bear Country" workshops to help homeowners keep bears away.

They also provide information at all of their field offices.