In a sure sign of spring, residents of Snoqualmie Ridge and nearby Lake Alice have reported seeing bears on their property in the past few weeks.
Michelle Jones, a volunteer with Bear Watch Washington, says she started getting reports of bear sightings in early March. Now, Jones is alerting her neighbors to be 'bear aware' to keep the bears away.
"The first time this year that the bears were actually sighted was on March 1st.... We just wanted to basically do everything we could, at Bear Smart, to try to remind everyone to keep their garbage in and keep any food sources away from bears" Jones said.
Bear Smart WA, a local nonprofit group, is encouraging homeowners on the eastside to remove food attractants as the number of bear sightings near Snoqualmie Ridge and Fall City continues to increase.
Sgt. Kim Chandler with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which tracks bear sightings and locations, explained to KIRO 7's Deborah Horne that this is a normal time of year for bears to wake up from hibernation, but that some of the bears never went into hibernation at all.
"I have probably seen six or seven bears in King County that have been up all winter long," Chandler said.
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Chandler went on to explain how bears can skip hibernating in the winter if they know they will be fed. "Garbage cans, bird feeders, compost pile," he said. "This is strictly, strictly, strictly a food-driven behavior."
According to Bear Smart WA there were more than 150 bear sightings and interactions in the region last year, and this year is on track to have even more.
Bear Smart WA encourages homeowners to only bring out garbage only on the morning of garbage day, and to bring down bird feeders in early spring.
Click here to read more on Bear Smart WA.
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