In another story that could be added to the “what could go wrong?” pile, 100 bears were recently released back into the wild in New Hampshire and Vermont after months of captivity in the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, New Hampshire.

Now before you pelt me with your PETA card, allow me to explain. It’s not the bears that are responsible for my concern, but rather the strange interactions New Englanders have had with bears over the past few months.

In response, many readers cited residential overdevelopment, giving bears in Northern New England no choice but to cohabitate with humans. Some experts blame the pandemic lockdown, which empowered many wild animals in the absence of perceived human threats.

Nonetheless, 100 bears are back “out there,” with representatives from the Kilham Center telling WMUR they are being relocated to areas where they are unlikely to come into contact with humans. Most were cubs who were unlikely to survive due to lack of food.

But…say somehow, you encounter one of these full-grown bears. Then what?

Well, let's talk prevention, first. According to NH Fish & Game bear expert Andrew Timmins, a vast majority of these human/bear encounters could be prevented by removing a common ornament from your lawn or garden.

But once an encounter ensues, such as those in Exeter, NH this spring, Timmins recommends making moderate noise to announce yourself to the bear, calmly making eye contact, and even talking to the bear in a relaxed voice so it knows you are not a threat and retreats. And don't laugh this off!

Just this year, we’ve had:

But bears aren't the only animals who've made some strange New England headlines lately...

15 Wacky New England Animal Stories from 2023

Did You Know These 30 Animals Are on New Hampshire's Endangered Species List?

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