Wildlife officials warn residents about emerging bears

A bear is seen with a bird feeder in a June, 2019 photograph taken by Cranston homeowner Monti Crowley

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island wildlife officials are reminding residents to remove potential food sources from their properties as black bears emerge from hibernation.

The Department of Environmental Management said in a statement this week that although rarely aggressive around people, bears can quickly become a nuisance if they identify and repeatedly return to a source of food.

Black bears have an excellent sense of smell and will investigate odors they identify as an easy meal.

The animals are known to visit bird feeders, beehives, chicken coops, rabbit hutches and compost piles in search of food.