EDITORIAL: Coexisting with Pa. wildlife

York Dispatch

Some 18,000 black bears inhabit Pennsylvania, and while sightings increase, particularly at this time of year, attacks on humans are very rare.

Still, mere sightings this past week in Newberry Township prompted calls to the game commission and local police.

It's not unusual to see them in June and July when young male bears are pushed out of their dens by sows that are getting ready to breed again after about 18 months.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there are a number of measures humans can take to coexist with bears.

In order to discourage them from seeking food in your neighborhood, keep grills clean and free of food and take pet food and bird feeders inside and make sure trash is securely inside bins.

Bears also can destroy cornfields and beehives, according to the game commission, which has information and resources on its website regarding fencing and other preventative measures. Find the website at or Google "black bears Pennsylvania" and the game commission site comes up at the top: "Living with Black Bears –". The website contains comprehensive information and resources.

It behooves us to research black bears and other wildlife we must coexist with in the natural world. Pennsylvania offers myriad opportunities for us to enjoy the creatures with which we share our surroundings.

According to the game commission's website, there are many misconceptions about the shy, curious, mysterious and powerful black bear.

"And that's too bad," the website states, "because bears needn't be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless. They simply need to be respected."

We recommend educating yourself about the awesome black bear and other wildlife in our midst.

And if you see a black bear, call the game commission or police, if you like, and take a moment to enjoy the experience from a safe distance.