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Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
In Tioga County Pennsylvania, there are no lions and tigers! But in our state of Pennsylvania, the black bear population exceeds 18,000 at this time!
According to Pennsylvania State Game Warden, Thomas Nelson, Tioga County is one of the highest counties in Pennsylvania for black bear population and black bear harvest.
Black bears are beautiful and wonderful to see in our PA Wilds, but they must be respected for their size and strength. Black bears are generally shy and avoid contact with humans. But, if a bear does approach you, Pennsylvania State Game Warden, Michael Smith, encourages us to alert the bear by making noise. He then said you can also raise your arms to make yourself look big. Generally, they will leave after this type of encounter because bear attacks are rare.
At this time, black bears are searching for food sources after their time in semi-hibernation over the winter months. They naturally enjoy skunk cabbage, acorns, grubs, and bugs. Of course, bears are opportunists animals so they are usually looking for an easy food source. Some of those easy opportunities would be bird feeders and pet food left outside. The game wardens suggested close watch on both of those situations so that the bears do not become a nuisance close to home.
Remember our bears in PA are wild animals so intentionally feeding them is against the law. It is also against the law to put out any feed, for any wildlife, that is causing bears to congregate or habituate to an area. Bears are very curious and fun animals to watch at a safe and appropriate distance for them and us.