June 8, 2013 7:48:09 PM
JACKSON -- Wildlife officials say coastal Mississippi is seeing higher than normal black bear activity this year and residents should remove attractants if one's spotted in a residential area.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks says black bears mainly eat foods like berries, acorns, grasses and insects.
They're also attracted to open garbage containers, pet food, bird feeders, livestock feed or barbeque grills. The agency says in a news release that residents should remove those items if a bear is spotted.
Southeast Mississippi is home to a small population of Louisiana Black Bear, but this year they're being spotted further south than normal in Jackson and Harrison counties. The agency says bears roam in search of food in the Spring, after months of inactivity.
A news release from wildlife officials sightings are usually more common farther north, around Desoto National Forest, several State Wildlife Management Areas and on private lands.
The news release says that under no circumstance should anyone feed a bear, which is against the law.
If they begin to associate humans with food, bears lose their fear of humans and become a serious nuisance problem.