- Associated Press - Sunday, April 16, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - State environmental officials are asking residents to remove potential food sources from their property as black bears emerge from hibernation.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says increasing bear populations in the region have led to more frequent sightings, especially in rural areas of Providence, Kent and Washington counties.

DEM says black bears may visit bird feeders, beehives, chicken coops, rabbit hutches and compost piles looking for food in the spring, when food is scarce.

It says they can become dependent on backyard food sources, if readily available, and quickly become a nuisance.

The department recommends removing bird feeders, refraining from feeding pets outside, storing birdseed, livestock feed and garbage indoors and taking garbage outside the morning it’s collected.

The department also suggests using electric fencing around chicken coops.

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