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Trouble in bear country

Keep containers sealed, cut down on food smells, official says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A bear is causing local residents grief. Auburn resident Sue Ingle, who lives on Wescott Court near Robie Point, said her neighbor alerted her early Wednesday morning to the fact that an eight-foot section of her fence had been knocked down. Her neighbor’s trash had also been rummaged through and tossed around the yard. Ingle said she thinks a bear is to blame. Ingle said neighbors noticed a mother bear and her cub back in November, and the thought is that the mother bear is causing the recent problems. “For the last month (the bear) has been taking turns in about five garbage cans,” Ingle said. Ingle said the bear visited her trashcan after she made meat loaf and discarded the grease, but she thinks the city’s new grease-collecting program will prevent that in the future. John Rowe, general manager of Recology Auburn Placer, said the bear situation in Auburn was discussed when the program was designed, but it wasn’t a main factor. Rowe said because grease is so hard to clean up when bears knock over garbage cans, the project will be useful in keeping grease out of cans. “From that standpoint it will be a huge help,” Rowe said. Dana Michaels, information officer for the North Central Region of the California Department of Fish and Game, said the department offers advice for those living in bear country. “Bears go where they think there is food,” Michaels said in an e-mail Wednesday. “Usually they smell it. To not attract bears to their homes or businesses, people should keep all garbage and trash in bear-proof containers. If bears smell food, trimmings, wrappers or bags that have had food in them, they’ll be attracted to them. And they have excellent olfactory senses, so they can smell the paper your cheeseburger was wrapped in from quite a distance. They're also attracted to non-food odors, such as perfume and cologne.” More information on living safely around bears can be found at the department’s “Keep Me Wild” website at dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com