95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Keep bears at bay: remove bird feeders, trash cans, pet food now

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan DNR

It’s spring and black bears are on the move in Michigan. Wildlife experts have some advice

There are more bears in Michigan than you might think.

“In the northern lower peninsula we expect we have about 2,500 bears.”

And they are in areas that might surprise you.

“We have so much contiguous wildlife habitat in West Michigan, especially between the Muskegon/Kent areas, that it makes a natural wildlife corridor for black bears to travel down.”

Rachel Lincoln is a Wildlife Outreach Coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

In recent years, bears have explored as far south as Grand Rapids, Lansing and Saginaw.

Now, in March and April, bears wake up from winter hibernation and leave their dens in search of food.

“If they come across a potential food source in your backyard a bird feeder or outdoor pet food or exposed trash can, it can really lead to a mess you’ll have to clean up and could lead to more bear encounters throughout the rest of the year.”

Lincoln urges homeowners to remove these items now so bears find food sources in their natural habitats.

“Grand Rapids is a really urban area. There’s a lot of development there so once they start to come across roadways and people and more subdivisions, they tend to turn around and head back up north.”

While it can be exciting to see a bear, experts don’t want the animals to get used to being around people.

“We want to make sure we’re respecting bears and keeping them in the habitats where they should stay.”

Related Content