Res­i­dent spots black bear in Api­son

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - REGION - BY BEN BEN­TON STAFF WRITER

on the furry black heels of a warn­ing this month from Ten­nessee wildlife of­fi­cials about bears in the Chat­tanooga re­gion, a lone black bear was spied Tues­day morn­ing in the area of Api­son Ele­men­tary School in east­ern Hamil­ton County.

The bear was seen around 8:30 a.m. Tues­day in a home­owner’s back­yard off of East Brain­erd Road. The res­i­dent pho­tographed it and re­ported the an­i­mal to the Ten­nessee Wildlife Re­sources Agency be­fore it left. The res­i­dent asked not to be named.

A TWRA dis­patcher said the bear was among a num­ber of wildlife sight­ings re­ported early Tues­day af­ter heavy storms thun­dered through the area Mon­day. Many species of wildlife, like bears, are on the move look­ing for food at this point in the year.

The bear had not caused any dam­age, of­fi­cials said.

When they con­nect hu­mans to a food source, bears can be danger­ous, TWRA spokes­woman Mime Barnes said. Home­own­ers should be vig­i­lant in lim­it­ing bear at­trac­tants on their prop­erty, she said.

The spot where the bear was sighted has a large wooded area to the west and a se­ries of wooded ar­eas ly­ing to the east and south where homes are spaced well apart. The ter­rain be­comes more rugged far­ther south into Ge­or­gia, while it gives way to a patch­work of fields far­ther east, along the Ten­nessee-Ge­or­gia

state line.

On black bear habitat maps, the an­i­mal’s range ex­tends across the Chat­tanooga re­gion west­ward from the Chero­kee National For­est and Blue Ridge Moun­tains past the Alabama state line.

Home­own­ers who live near bear habitat should be wary of any ac­tiv­i­ties that could at­tract danger­ous wildlife, of­fi­cials said.

Gar­den­ing and grilling ac­tiv­i­ties can of­fer bears easy fod­der, as can bird feed­ers, trash, bird baths and pet food bowls with left­over food, of­fi­cials said.

Of­fi­cials say never feed bears no mat­ter where they are en­coun­tered, be­cause bears ac­cus­tomed to food pro­vided by hu­mans are eas­ily con­di­tioned and pose a greater threat.

To re­port a po­ten­tially danger­ous bear in South­east Ten­nessee, con­tact the TWRA’s Re­gion III of­fice at 800-241-0767. In North Ge­or­gia, call the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources at 770-918-6416.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

An Api­son-area reader who asked not to be named shot this photo early Tues­day of a black bear in her back yard near Api­son Ele­men­tary School.

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