Black bear spotted in Gwinnett; hibernation may have ended early

Gwinnett County’s first reported black bear sighting of the year was in Sugar Hill, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Bears may be awakening from hibernation early due to a period of warm weather that metro Atlanta experienced in February, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. That means mother bears and their cubs may be looking for food.

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That food could be found in backyard bird feeders and household trash cans, according to Tina Johannsen, a DNR spokesperson.

“If there’s a mama bear and three cubs eating out of your bird feeder, you’re not going to want to go out there,” she said. “You don’t want to challenge her. That’s when you want to sit back, wait until she leaves, move what’s attracting them. That way, when she comes back, there’s nothing for her and she moves on.”

Residents should empty bird feeders and secure trash cans so bears cannot access them and are not attracted by the smell of food.

There are approximately 5,100 black bears in Georgia, according to DNR.

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