Black bear likely run out of an older bear’s territory
by Sarah Fay Campbell
A bear has been spotted near the eastern border of Chattahoochee Bend State Park, and park officials are asking for campers at the north platform camping sites to take bear protocols of hanging their food from tree limbs or placing their food in bear proof containers.
The black bear, likely a juvenile male, was spotted near the 2500 block of Mt. Carmel Road, near the park in western Coweta County, according to Tim Banks, park manager.
“We hope it comes on into the park,” Banks said Wednesday. “We would welcome him.”
“It’s a part of nature. We’d love to have them,” Banks said. “It makes the area more wild to me."
If bears were to take up residence in the nearly 3,000-acre park, located along the Chattahoochee River, “we would provide bear protocols for our campers and hikers,” Banks said, which would include reminding campers to get their trash to the Dumpster before dark and making sure food is put away. If a bear were to cause a problem, officials would probably install bear proof food lockers for the north platform camping area, according to Banks.
Banks said the bear is likely a young male from Alabama. “During the springtime, it is very routine for them to be run out of an older bear’s territory,” Banks said. Once young bears are old enough to not need their mothers anymore, “she runs them off,” Banks said. Males tend to roam farther in order to find a place where there aren’t older males.
Talladega National Forest in eastern Alabama is the closest place where there is a sustainable bear population, according to Banks, and there is a lot of open land between here and there for a bear to roam.
“Sighting a single male bear is not a sign of a sustainable bear population,” Banks said, but there’s plenty of food and habitat for them in the area.
Bears are opportunistic feeders, so they’ll often take advantage of easy food. If people are concerned, “mainly they need to make sure there is not dog food” outside of their homes. Bears are also attracted to bird feeders, Banks said. And, of course, “you need to watch your trash cans.”
Banks said there are usually reports of bears every spring. Bears tend to be active at night. “During the day they will probably be lying in a nice cold creek,” he said.