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Officials say bear sightings on rise in Asheville

BC-NCóBear Sightings, 1st Ld-Writethru,0228Officials say bear sightings on rise in NC cityEds: UPDATES with details, quotes. RECASTS lead.ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) ó Heat and lack of food are to blame for a rise in bear sightings in Asheville, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Animal control officials said residents can avoid bear visits by making sure there is no food for them such as open garbage cans and bird feeders, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.
Police Capt. Daryl Fisher said there have been 10 bear sightings in the western North Carolina city during the past week, but no attacks or other problems. Fisher said he thinks a bear went through his garbage.
Bears have popped up in neighborhoods of east and south Asheville.
“I do know that the bears are more active, and we believe it’s because of the heat,” Fisher said. “They’re having a little bit harder time finding food, and they’re coming down so they can find easy food.”
Fisher said the problem is nationwide. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said the bear population in the state has grown and humans are moving into the animals’ living areas.
“Hopefully, folks will start putting up their garbage and just being aware bird feeders and garbage left outside, unsecured, attract the bears,” Fisher said.
He said the signs of a bear are clear. Dogs will scatter trash, he said, “but bears will sit down and methodically go through the trash until they find food.”

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