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Bear encounters in Utah have doubled in the last year

Wildlife officials say reports of bears coming down from the mountains and rummaging through backyard and campgrounds throughout Utah have more than doubled this year.

Faith Jolley with the Division of Wildlife Resources said Wednesday her agency has already received more than 25 reports of black bears getting into trash cans and camp sites, mostly in central Utah. In 2018 the DWR recorded 27 total bear encounters. None have resulted in serious injury.

The sharp increase can be attributed to a larger bear population and a wet spring that kept the bears hibernating longer than usual. State biologists say these factors have made bears bolder in searching for food.

Jolley says residents can “bearproof” their surroundings by regularly cleaning their trash cans and storing food in locked cars while camping.

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