Conchas Lake residents say they’ve got a bear problem

New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  People living near Conchas Lake say they’re seeing more bears than usual this year, and it seems like those bears are a lot more comfortable around humans. Tina New says up until this year, she’d never seen a bear before.

“It was frightening,” said New, describing her recent encounter with a bear. “When I turned my head just a little bit, I said to myself “that’s a bear!’ I just turned my head back straight ahead,” said New.

New says she’s used to seeing other wildlife around her home, “We have bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes. We have so many different types of wildlife out here,” said New. She says this is the first year she and her neighbors have had a “bear problem.” She says every summer they see one or two bears, but they don’t stick around very long. This year New says they started seeing bears in April and they’re not leaving.

News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish who says they’ve gotten multiple reports about bears in the area. “Our conservation officers have been in and around Conchas, they’re in regular contact with people who have seen bears in the community,” said Tristanna Bickford, the Communications Director for NMDGF.

NMDGF says this is not uncommon, especially because bears are preparing for hibernation. Bickford says bears are opportunistic and are often looking for an easy way to eat. They say they handle each case differently depending on the circumstances, and the bear. “We have set up a few traps so that if we can catch a bear and remove it from the situation, that would be ideal,” said Bickford.

NMDGF also wants to remind everyone to keep their trash in a secure location where bears can’t get to it, and to clean your grills really well because just the smell will attract them.

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